Amiodarone is associated with severe, life-threatening side effects, especially when combined with Zocor. These side effects include blindness, lung disease, and death.

What is Amiodarone?

Amiodarone is the generic name of several brand-name medications (Pacerone, Cordarone, and Aratac). They treat irregular heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, and atrial flutter.

What is the problem?

In May 2005, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn about severe side effects of Amiodarone. The agency warned about lung disease (pulmonary toxicity), liver damage, and worsening heart problems. In some cases, irregular heart rhythm gets worse and is very hard to treat. Amiodarone has also been linked to permanent vision loss and blindness.

Warning Signs of Heart Problems

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

Warning Signs of Lung Toxicity

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

Other Severe Health Problems

  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness
  • Loss of muscle coordination in arms and legs

Amiodarone + Simvastin

Combining amiodarone with simvastatin (Zocor) has been associated with a degenerative muscle disease called rhabdomyolysis. The FDA issued a warning about this risk in 2008, after receiving 52 reports of this side effect since 2002.

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis is the degeneration of skeletal muscle, which causes the muscle protein myoglobin to leak into the urine. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, muscle damage, and dark urine color. One of the most serious complications is kidney failure, which occurs when myoglobin clogs the filtering tissue in the kidneys. Severe rhabdomyolysis can also reduce circulation to parts of the body, causing tissue damage.

Amiodarone Side Effects

  • Lung toxicity
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Blindness
  • Vision loss
  • Intestinal disease
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrosis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Death


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