Amiodarone is an anti-arrhythmic drug for people with severe heart problems. Unfortunately, it has been linked to life-threatening side effects like pulmonary toxicity, vision loss, blindness, and even death.


Amiodarone is a heart drug that has been on the market for decades. Over 80% of prescriptions are written for uses that were not approved by the FDA. The agency has issued warnings to the manufacturer for “off-label” promotion of amiodarone.

FDA Safety Warning

The FDA issued a warning about amiodarone toxicity in 2005 — including pulmonary toxicity, liver disease, and worsening heart problems.

Amiodarone Lung Damage

Lung damage is one of the most common severe side effects of amiodarone. In some studies, 17% of patients on 400-mg daily doses of amiodarone developed pulmonary toxicity, a lung disease that is fatal in about 10% of cases. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Irritating cough
  • Coughing up blood

Worsening Heart Problems

Amiodarone can block electrical signals to the heart and cause a dangerously slow heartbeat. This side effect occurs in about 2-5% of patients. Amiodarone can also worsen irregular heart rhythm and make it very hard to treat. Symptoms include:

  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations

Vision Loss and Blindness

Amiodarone is associated with optic neuropathy, an eye disease that causes sudden vision loss and permanent blindness. In one study of nearly 300 case reports, 20% of victims had permanent blindness in at least one eye. Symptoms include:

  • Pain around the eyes
  • Eye movements are painful
  • Vision loss
  • Loss of color vision


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