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What is Dronedarone?

By Donn Saylor
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dronedarone is a medication predominantly prescribed to treat cardiac arrhythmia, a condition commonly known as irregular heartbeat. A member of the antiarrhythmics class of drugs, dronedarone is used in the management of two main types of irregular heartbeat: atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. The drug is sometimes referred to as SR33589 and is marketed under the brand name Multaq®.

The medication is a by-product of the compound benzofuran and bears similarities to a previously prescribed medication known as amiodarone. Amiodarone is only utilized in restricted doses since its elevated iodine content level has toxic potential. Dronedarone has many of the same benefits as amiodarone without the high iodine and toxicity levels. It works by regulating the heartbeat, slowing the speed of the heartbeat, and returning the pace to normal.

Dronedarone is prescribed for two major kinds of cardiac arrhythmia. In atrial fibrillation, the heart beats quicker than normal or in an irregular rhythm. Patients who have an atrial flutter also have a faster than usual heartbeat but the rhythm is generally normal. The drug is given only if the condition has been present for six months or less, and it has been credited with greatly reducing the chance that someone with one of these ailments will have to be hospitalized for heart problems.

Doctors prescribe dronedarone in tablets of 400 mg, which are taken twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner. Dronedarone is meant as a long-term course of treatment to regulate heartbeat and prevent hospitalization, and doctors stress that it should be taken regularly every day. Even if a patient is feeling better, doctors emphasize that a patient should continue taking the drug as directed. If a patient misses a dose, it can be skipped and the regular dosage routine adhered to.

Those with heart failure are advised by medical professionals to stop taking dronedarone. Research on the drug has shown higher mortality rates among patients who suffer certain classes of severe heart failure while on dronedarone. A warning with this statement and a detailed explanation is included in all boxes of the medication.

Dronedarone possesses some less critical side effects, as well. Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea are among the most widely documented. It also interacts with several different medications, including certain antidepressants, other heart medications, blood thinners, and diuretics. A doctor will advise and monitor a patient on dronedarone to reduce the likelihood of any drug interaction.

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