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Amiodarone as treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy
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Amiodarone as treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy


  My nephew had valve repair surgery done this past week.  It is a new procedure developed by Dr Bolling at the U Michigan.  He now has to choose a course of treatment.  His choices are a shocking device (aicd) or amiodarone drug therapy.  I am having trouble finding the side effects of this drug which we were told are substantial.  Can you help?  Thanks so much.
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Dear Sandy,
Probably the easiest way to get some literature on amiodarone is to go to your local pharmacy chain (CVS or Rite Aid or the like) and ask the pharmacist for an information page on amio and why.  You could also go to the nearest medical library and read about amio in the PDR (physician's desk reference) as well as any other drug reference or drug side effect book they have there; you would of course want to read the parts regarding side effects, interactions, and the like, you do not need to read the sections about the composition of the drug and such.
Now for my own little summary of this widely used drug amiodarone.
There are three main organs potentially effected by this drug: 1. thyroid, 2. liver, and 3. lung.  The thyroid is a gland in your neck that helps regulate metabolism, amio can make it over or underactive, both of which are very treatable.  The liver is in the right upper portion of your belly area and is a large organ whose main function is to metabolize (process) things (including drugs); amio can lead to a malfunctioning liver, something that can be checked for and usually when the drug is stopped the liver returns to normal.  The lungs can have short term (acute)damage or long term (chronic)damage from the amio, both of which warrant stopping the drug since both will make breathing difficult and eventually produce significant lung damage (this is a fairly rare side effect of amio.)
All antiarrhythmic drugs (amio included) have not only anti but pro arryhythmic potential, meaning amiodarone can also cause problems with the rhythm while being used to treat a potentially lethal arrhythmia.  This is a rarity also, but warrants mentioning since it is a possibility.
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for
general purposes only.  Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.
Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please
call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at
www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the
cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your
cardiac problem.






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