Available data from postmarketing reports and published case series indicate that amiodarone use in pregnant women may increase the risk for fetal adverse effects including neonatal hypo- and hyperthyroidism, neonatal bradycardia, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, preterm birth and fetal growth restriction. Amiodarone and its metabolite, desethylamiodarone (DEA), cross the placenta. Untreated underlying arrhythmias, including ventricular arrhythmias, during pregnancy pose a risk to the mother and fetus (see Clinical Considerations). In animal studies, administration of amiodarone to rabbits, rats, and mice during organogenesis resulted in embryo- fetal toxicity at doses less than the maximum recommended human maintenance dose (see Data). Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2%-4% and 15%-20%, respectively.
Disease-associated maternal and or embryo/fetal Risk
The incidence of ventricular tachycardia is increased and may be more symptomatic during pregnancy. Ventricular arrhythmias most often occur in pregnant women with underlying cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, valvular heart disease, or mitral valve prolapse. Most tachycardia episodes are initiated by ectopic beats and the occurrence of arrhythmia episodes may therefore, increase during pregnancy due to the increased propensity to ectopic activity. Breakthrough arrhythmias may also occur during pregnancy, as therapeutic treatment levels may be difficult to maintain due to the increased volume of distribution and increased drug metabolism inherent in the pregnant state.
Fetal/Neonatal adverse reactions
Amiodarone and its metabolite have been shown to cross the placenta. Adverse fetal effects associated with maternal amiodarone use during pregnancy may include neonatal bradycardia, QT prolongation, and periodic ventricular extrasystoles, neonatal hypothyroidism (with or without goiter) detected antenatally or in the newborn and reported even after a few days of exposure, neonatal hyperthyroxinemia, neurodevelopmental abnormalities independent of thyroid function, including speech delay and difficulties with written language and arithmetic, delayed motor development, and ataxia, jerk nystagmus with synchronous head titubation, fetal growth restriction, and premature birth. Monitor the newborn for signs and symptoms of thyroid disorder and cardiac arrhythmias.
Labor and Delivery
Risk of arrhythmias may increase during labor and delivery. Patients treated with amiodarone hydrochloride tablets should be monitored continuously during labor and delivery [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
In pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis, amiodarone HCl in doses of 25 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.4 and 0.9 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*) had no adverse effects on the fetus. In the rabbit, 75 mg/kg/day (approximately 2.7 times the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*) caused abortions in greater than 90% of the animals. In the rat, doses of 50 mg/kg/day or more were associated with slight displacement of the testes and an increased incidence of incomplete ossification of some skull and digital bones; at 100 mg/kg/day or more, fetal body weights were reduced; at 200 mg/kg/day, there was an increased incidence of fetal resorption. (These doses in the rat are approximately 0.8, 1.6 and 3.2 times the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*) Adverse effects on fetal growth and survival also were noted in one of two strains of mice at a dose of 5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.04 times the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*).
*600 mg in a 60 kg patient (doses compared on a body surface area basis)
Amiodarone and one of its major metabolites, DEA, are present in breastmilk at between 3.5% and 45% of the maternal weight- adjusted dosage of amiodarone. There are cases of hypothyroidism and bradycardia in breastfed infants, although it is unclear if these effects are due to amiodarone exposure in breastmilk. Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with amiodarone hydrochloride tablets [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6, 5.7)].
Based on animal fertility studies, amiodarone hydrochloride tablets may reduce female and male fertility. It is not known if this effect is reversible. [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].
The safety and effectiveness of amiodarone hydrochloride tablets in pediatric patients have not been established.
Normal subjects over 65 years of age show lower clearances and increased drug half-life than younger subjects [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
There have been cases, some fatal, of amiodarone hydrochloride tablets overdose.
Monitor the patient’s cardiac rhythm and blood pressure, and, if bradycardia ensues, a β-adrenergic agonist or a pacemaker may be used. Treat hypotension with inadequate tissue perfusion with positive inotropic and vasopressor agents. Neither amiodarone hydrochloride tablets nor its metabolite is dialyzable.
Amiodarone hydrochloride is a member of a class of antiarrhythmic drugs with predominantly Class III (Vaughan Williams’ classification) effects. Amiodarone is a benzofuran derivative: 2-butyl-3-benzofuranyl 4-[2-(diethylamino)-ethoxy]-3,5-diiodophenyl ketone hydrochloride.
The structural formula is as follows:
Amiodarone hydrochloride, USP is a white to cream-colored crystalline powder. It is slightly soluble in water, soluble in alcohol and freely soluble in chloroform. It contains 37.3% iodine by weight.
Each amiodarone hydrochloride tablet intended for oral administration contains 200 mg of amiodarone hydrochloride. In addition each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, povidone and sodium starch glycolate.
Amiodarone is considered a class III antiarrhythmic drug, but it possesses electrophysiologic characteristics of all four Vaughan Williams classes. Like class I drugs, amiodarone blocks sodium channels at rapid pacing frequencies, and like class II drugs, amiodarone exerts a noncompetitive antisympathetic action. One of its main effects, with prolonged administration, is to lengthen the cardiac action potential, a class III effect. The negative chronotropic effect of amiodarone in nodal tissues is similar to the effect of class IV drugs. In addition to blocking sodium channels, amiodarone blocks myocardial potassium channels, which contributes to slowing of conduction and prolongation of refractoriness. The antisympathetic action and the block of calcium and potassium channels are responsible for the negative dromotropic effects on the sinus node and for the slowing of conduction and prolongation of refractoriness in the atrioventricular (AV) node. Its vasodilatory action can decrease cardiac workload and consequently myocardial oxygen consumption.
Amiodarone hydrochloride tablet prolongs the duration of the action potential of all cardiac fibers while causing minimal reduction of dV/dt (maximal upstroke velocity of the action potential). The refractory period is prolonged in all cardiac tissues. Amiodarone hydrochloride tablet increases the cardiac refractory period without influencing resting membrane potential, except in automatic cells where the slope of the prepotential is reduced, generally reducing automaticity. These electrophysiologic effects are reflected in a decreased sinus rate of 15 to 20%, increased PR and QT intervals of about 10%, the development of U-waves, and changes in T-wave contour. These changes should not require discontinuation of amiodarone hydrochloride tablets as they are evidence of its pharmacological action, although amiodarone hydrochloride tablets can cause marked sinus bradycardia or sinus arrest and heart block [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
In animal studies and after intravenous administration in man, amiodarone hydrochloride tablet relaxes vascular smooth muscle, reduces peripheral vascular resistance (afterload), and slightly increases cardiac index. After oral dosing, however, amiodarone hydrochloride tablet produces no significant change in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), even in patients with depressed LVEF. After acute intravenous dosing in man, amiodarone hydrochloride tablets may have a mild negative inotropic effect.
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