This medication is prescribed to address specific severe irregular heart rhythms, such as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. Its purpose is to restore a regular heart rhythm and sustain a consistent, steady heartbeat. Propafenone is classified as an anti-arrhythmic medication. It operates by inhibiting specific electrical signals in the heart that can lead to irregular heartbeats. Managing irregular heart rhythms can lower the likelihood of blood clots, consequently reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Uses and Dosage
Propafenone is available in tablet and extended-release (long-acting) capsule forms, both to be taken orally. Typically, the tablet is consumed three times a day, with intervals of about 8 hours between doses. The extended-release capsule is usually taken twice daily, spaced approximately 12 hours apart, with or without food.
Adhere to the prescribed dosage precisely—do not exceed or reduce it, and do not take it more frequently than directed by your physician.
When taking the capsules, swallow them whole; do not crush, open, or divide the contents of a capsule into multiple doses.
Your doctor might initiate propafenone treatment in a hospital setting to closely monitor your response as your body adjusts to the medication. The initial propafenone dose may be low, with gradual increases, typically not more frequently than once every 5 days.
Propafenone can manage your irregular heartbeat but won’t cure it. Continue taking propafenone even if you start feeling better. Do not discontinue propafenone without consulting your doctor, as abruptly stopping it could result in a return of irregular heart rhythms.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- unusual taste in the mouth
- blurred vision
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- difficulty with coordination
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- new or worsening irregular heartbeat
- slow, fast, or pounding heartbeat
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- sudden, unexplained weight gain
- skin rash
- unexplained fever, chills, weakness, or sore throat
Prior to starting propafenone, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any existing allergies, including allergies to propafenone itself or any other substances. This product might contain inactive ingredients that have the potential to trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Before using this medication, communicate your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have a history of respiratory issues, kidney problems, liver problems, myasthenia gravis, or a specific inherited heart condition known as Brugada Syndrome.
Propafenone has the potential to cause a heart rhythm condition known as QT prolongation. In rare instances, this can lead to severe (and rarely fatal) rapid or irregular heartbeat, along with other symptoms like severe dizziness and fainting, necessitating immediate medical attention. Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the bloodstream can also heighten the risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you are using certain medications (such as diuretics or “water pills”) or if you have conditions like severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Have a discussion with your doctor about the safe use of propafenone in these situations.
This medication can induce dizziness. The consumption of alcohol or marijuana can intensify this dizziness. Until you can safely do so, avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery.
Elderly individuals may be more susceptible to the side effects of this medication, particularly QT prolongation.
Propafenone may affect male fertility; consult your doctor for more information.
During pregnancy, this medication should only be used when it is unequivocally necessary. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Rythmol is available in the following forms and strengths:
Does Rythmol lower blood pressure?
Since propafenone has the chemical structure of a beta-blocker, studies have shown that it significantly reduces heart rate and blood pressure when a person is working out.
Can you take Rythmol long term?
Rythmol may be effective in some patients for long term prevention of atrial fibrillation, although efficacy may decrease over time.