Sotalol is the general form of the branded drug Betapace, used to treat severe irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
The drug belongs to a class of drugs known as antiarrhythmics. It works by helping the heart muscle beat regularly for a longer time.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally approved sotalol in 1992.
The drug is produced as Betapace by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.
Sotalol can lead to a new or worsened irregular heartbeat that can endanger life.
During the first three days of treatment, you will take sotalol in a medical facility where you can control your heart rate.
Sotalol is manufactured under two different brands, Betapace and Betapace AF. These medications are used for various types of irregular heartbeats and should not be taken at the same time.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Kidney disease
- Long QT interval or prolonged QT syndrome (heart rhythm disorders)
- Heart disease or heart failure
- Liver disease
- Asthma or other lung disease
- Heavy on drugs
- Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood
- Thyroid problems
- Tumor on the adrenal gland
- Low blood pressure
- Blood disease
Sotalol monitors your irregular heartbeat, but it will not cure your condition. Continue to take this medication even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking sotalol without first talking to your doctor. A sudden discontinuation of the drug may cause chest pain or a heart attack.
If you have diabetes, sotalol can affect blood sugar levels. Regularly check it.
Inform your health care provider that you are taking sotalol before performing any operations, including dental procedures.
Pregnancy and Sotalol
This drug is unlikely to harm an unborn baby.
However, talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or can become pregnant before taking sotalol.
Sotalol enters the breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking this medicine.
Sotalol: side effects
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become serious or persistent:
- Stomach upset, constipation or diarrhea
- Muscle pain
Serious side effects
Immediately notify your doctor if you experience the following serious side effects:
- Thoracic pain
- Dyspnoea or wheezing
- Edema of the feet
- Unexpected, unexplained weight gain
- Unusual sweating
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction, which may include a rash, shortness of breath, chest tightness or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
Tell your doctor about all the medications you take before taking sotalol, especially:
- Medications for headaches, migraines, diabetes, asthma, allergies, colds
- Other drugs for high blood pressure or heart disease
- Saline substitutes containing potassium
- Serpalan or Serpasil (reserpine)
Take any Maalox or Mylanta (antacids containing aluminum or magnesium) at least two hours before or after taking sotalol.
Sotalol and other interactions
Sotalol may cause drowsiness.
Do not operate the machine until you know how the medicine affects you.
Sotalol and alcohol
Alcohol can cause you drowsiness when taking sotalol.
Talk with your doctor before drinking alcohol while taking this medication.
Sotalol is supplied in the form of a tablet, which must be taken through the mouth. Try to take the medicine at about the same time every day.
Follow the instructions of your doctor carefully. Do not take more or less medicine than prescribed.
Sotalol is usually taken twice a day.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Inconsistent Breath
- Unusually weak, severe or irregular heartbeat
If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact a poison control center or an emergency room.
The missed dose of Sotalol
If you miss a dose of sotalol, take it as soon as you remember.
Skip it if it’s time to take the next scheduled dose.
Do not take additional medication to make up for the missed dose.