What is Multaq Uses, warnings & interactions
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Multaq (dronedarone) is an antiarrhythmic drug that is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis. It was approved in 2009 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat certain types of atrial fibrillation (AFib) in adults.
If your doctor has prescribed Multaq to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Multaq is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Multaq used for?
Multaq is an antiarrhythmic medication used to maintain a normal heart rhythm and reduce hospitalization in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter.
This medication should not be used if you have permanent atrial fibrillation because of the increased risk of very serious side effects.
How does Multaq work?
The exact mechanism of action of Multaq is not known. It is thought to work by blocking potassium channels in your heart to help reduce its electrical activity. This helps you stay in a normal sinus rhythm and prevents you from going into AFib.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Multaq?
- 400mg film-coated tablet
Before taking Multaq
Before taking Multaq, tell your healthcare provider about your medical conditions, including:
- Heart problems such as heart failure or arrhythmias
- Liver problems
- Are taking medications that affect your heart rate or rhythm
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Multaq
- Read the Drug Information and Medication Guide that comes with Multaq.
- Take this medication exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it. Do not change your dose or stop taking Multaq without talking to them first.
- Multaq is typically taken twice daily, once with your morning meal and once with your evening meal.
- If you miss a dose of Multaq, skip it and take your next dose at its normal time. Do not take 2 doses at once to make up for a missed dose.
You should not use Multaq if you have an allergy to dronedarone or any inactive ingredients in this product. You should also avoid this medication if you have any of the following:
- Heart failure
- Atrioventricular (AV) block or sick sinus syndrome unless you have a pacemaker
- Low heart rate
- Using other medications or supplements that prolong the QT interval
- Severe liver disease
- Monitor for symptoms of heart failure while on Multaq. Your doctor may pause or discontinue this medication if you have signs of severe heart failure.
- Your doctor should take blood tests to ensure your potassium and magnesium levels are normal while on Multaq.
- Multaq can affect your heart rhythm and cause QT prolongation. QT prolongation can sometimes cause a fast or irregular heartbeat.
What drugs should not be taken with Multaq?
When Multaq is taken with other medications, it may change how Multaq works or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should ask your doctor if any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may cause drug interactions with Multaq, including:
- Antiarrhythmics such as amiodarone
- Antifungals such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, or voriconazole
- Antibiotics such as clarithromycin or telithromycin
- HIV medications such as ritonavir
- Beta-blockers such as atenolol
- Phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline
- St. John’s wort
- Grapefruit juice
What are some possible side effects of Multaq?
The most common side effects of Multaq seen in clinical trials when compared to placebo include:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
- Unusual tiredness
- Skin reactions such as rash and itching
Multaq can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Serious, life-threatening allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and shortness of breath)
- Increased risk of death, stroke, or hospitalization
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Lung problems such as a dry cough or shortness of breath
- Liver problems such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) and dark urine
- Low magnesium or potassium levels
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Multaq. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Multaq is not right for you. They will vary by factors such as side effects and cost. Some alternative FDA-approved treatment options include:
- Betapace (sotalol)
- Tikosyn (dofetilide)
- Tambocor (flecainide)
- Pacerone (amiodarone)
- Rythmol SR (propafenone)
Can you take Multaq while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Multaq should not be used in pregnant women as it may cause fetal harm. If you can become pregnant, you should use an effective form of birth control while on this medication. It is not known whether this medication is found in breast milk or the effects it may have on the breastfed infant. Multaq is not recommended for use if you are breastfeeding. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Does Multaq cause weight gain?
Multaq does not commonly cause weight gain. If you notice unexplained weight gain, swelling, or shortness of breath contact your doctor immediately as those could be symptoms of heart failure.
Does Multaq affect your blood pressure?
Multaq will slightly affect your blood pressure but will have a more significant effect on your heart rate.
Can I just stop taking Multaq?
You should not stop taking this medication without discussing it with your doctor first. Stopping Multaq abruptly may cause a worsening of your Afib.
How long does it take Multaq to work?
While your body will absorb this medication within a few hours, it can take up to a week to see its full effects.
How much does Multaq cost?
Currently, there is no generic Multaq available on the market. The average cost of #60 tablets of Multaq 400mg is around $660. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Multaq through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.