Cordarone is a drug used to treat irregular heartbeats called ventricular arrythmias. Basically, with this illness, the ventricles of the heart contract too quickly causing problems for the entire heart. Due to the serious side effects of this drug, it is used only when other treatment options have not worked. Cordarone should not be taken by people that have a heart that beats too slowly, a disease known as heart block, or a slow heart rate with dizziness or lightheadedness.
The major, serious side effects of Cordarone include serious vision problems, muscle problems including the "pins and needles" feeling in the legs and arms, thyroid problems, skin problems such as changing to a blue-gray color, digestion changes such as nausea and vomiting, birth defects if taken while pregnant, and problems with a baby if its mother takes Cordarone while breastfeeding. The most recent addition to the list of serious side effects was added by the FDA in 2005. Lung and Liver damage as well as worsening of any prior existing lung and liver problems have been identified as side effects of taking Cordarone. It is for this reason that Cordarone should only be taken by people with life-threatening arrythmias when other treatment plans have not worked to control the problem.
Cordarone interacts with many other drugs including various types of antibiotics, various drugs that treat irregular heart beats, Warfarin (a drug used to treat blood clots), Zocor (used to treat high blood pressure), and other drugs that treat high blood pressure particularly beta blockers. Also, grapefruit juice and grapefruit should not be consumed while taking Cordarone because the grapefruit juice interferes with the stomach's ability to absorb the drug. Drinking grapefruit juice while taking Cordarone can cause an overdose.