Betapace: The Anti-Arrhythmic Drug That May Save Your Life

Betapace is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of irregular heartbeat. It belongs to a class of drugs called anti-arrhythmics. Betapace is also available as the generic drug sotalol.

Betapace is used to treat arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Betapace is usually used in people with ventricular arrhythmias, such as:

  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia

Betapace may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Betapace if you have asthma, bronchospasm, or a history of Long QT syndrome. You should not use Betapace if you have certain heart conditions, such as heart block, sick sinus syndrome, or slow heart rate unless you have a pacemaker.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Betapace if you are allergic to sotalol, or if you have:

  • asthma, bronchospasm, or a history of Long QT syndrome;
  • certain heart conditions (heart block, sick sinus syndrome, or slow heart rate unless you have a pacemaker); or
  • if you have recently had a heart attack.
To make sure Betapace is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • diabetes;
  • a seizure;
  • migraine headaches; or
  • if you take insulin or oral diabetes medicine.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Betapace.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Betapace will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Sotalol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Betapace.

Betapace is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take Betapace?

Take Betapace exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Betapace is usually taken twice daily with or without food. Follow your doctor's instructions.

You may need frequent medical tests to be sure Betapace is not causing harmful effects on your heart.

If you miss a dose of Betapace, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your doctor any questions you have about how to use Betapace.

Uses

Betapace is used to treat arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Betapace is usually used in people with ventricular arrhythmias, such as:

  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Supraventricular tachycardia

Betapace may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • slow or uneven heartbeats;
  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • high levels of potassium in your blood (slow heart rate, weak pulse, muscle weakness, tingly feeling).

Common Betapace side effects may include:

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling in your legs or ankles;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • dizziness, drowsiness;
  • headache;
  • mild skin rash; or
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Overdose

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

An overdose of sotalol can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include slow heart rate, dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath.

What other drugs will affect Betapace?

Tell your doctor about all other heart or blood pressure medications you are taking, including:

  • atenolol (Tenormin);
  • bisoprolol (Zebeta, Ziac);
  • metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL);
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