Amiodarone Hydrochloride (Page 5 of 7)

Electrolyte Disturbances

Patients with hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia should have the condition corrected whenever possible before being treated with amiodarone HCl injection, as these disorders can exaggerate the degree of QTc prolongation and increase the potential for TdP. Special attention should be given to electrolyte and acid-base balance in patients experiencing severe or prolonged diarrhea or in patients receiving concomitant diuretics.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

No carcinogenicity studies were conducted with amiodarone HCl injection. However, oral amiodarone caused a statistically significant, dose-related increase in the incidence of thyroid tumors (follicular adenoma and/or carcinoma) in rats. The incidence of thyroid tumors in rats was greater than the incidence in controls even at the lowest dose level tested, i.e., 5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.08 times the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*).

Mutagenicity studies conducted with amiodarone HCl (Ames, micronucleus, and lysogenic induction tests) were negative.

No fertility studies were conducted with amiodarone HCl injection. However, in a study in which amiodarone HCl was orally administered to male and female rats, beginning 9 weeks prior to mating, reduced fertility was observed at a dose level of 90 mg/kg/day (approximately 1.4 times the maximum recommended human maintenance dose*).

*600 mg in a 50 kg patient (dose compared on a body surface area basis).


Category D. See WARNINGS, Neonatal Hypo- or Hyperthyroidism.

In addition to causing infrequent congenital goiter/hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, amiodarone has caused a variety of adverse effects in animals.

In a reproductive study in which amiodarone was given intravenously to rabbits at dosages of 5,10, or 25 mg/kg per day (about 0.1, 0.3, and 0.7 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] on a body surface area basis), maternal deaths occurred in all groups, including controls. Embryotoxicity (as manifested by fewer full-term fetuses and increased resorptions with concomitantly lower litter weights) occurred at dosages of 10 mg/kg and above. No evidence of embryotoxicity was observed at 5 mg/kg and no teratogenicity was observed at any dosages.

In a teratology study in which amiodarone was administered by continuous IV infusion to rats at dosages of 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg per day (about 0.4, 0.7, and 1.4 times the MRHD when compared on a body surface area basis), maternal toxicity (as evidenced by reduced weight gain and food consumption) and embryotoxicity (as evidenced by increased resorptions, decreased live litter size, reduced body weights, and retarded sternum and metacarpal ossification) were observed in the 100 mg/kg group.

Amiodarone HCl injection should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit to the mother justifies the risk to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers

Amiodarone and one of it’s major metabolites, desethylamiodarone (DEA), are excreted in human milk, suggesting that breast-feeding could expose the nursing infant to a significant dose of the drug. Nursing offspring of lactating rats administered amiodarone have demonstrated reduced viability and reduced body weight gains. The risk of exposing the infant to amiodarone should be weighed against the potential benefit of arrhythmia suppression in the mother. The mother should be advised to discontinue nursing.

Labor and Delivery

It is not known whether the use of amiodarone during labor or delivery has any immediate or delayed adverse effects. Preclinical studies in rodents have not shown any effect on the duration of gestation or on parturition.

Pediatric Use

The safety and efficacy of amiodarone in the pediatric population have not been established; therefore, its use in pediatric patients is not recommended. In a pediatric trial of 61 patients, aged 30 days to 15 years, hypotension (36%), bradycardia (20%), and atrio-ventricular block (15%) were common dose-related adverse events and were severe or life-threatening in some cases. Injection site reactions were seen in 5 (25%) of the 20 patients receiving intravenous amiodarone through a peripheral vein irrespective of dose regimen.

Amiodarone HCl injection contains the preservative benzyl alcohol (see DESCRIPTION). There have been reports of fatal “gasping syndrome” in neonates (children less than one month of age) following the administration of intravenous solutions containing the preservative benzyl alcohol. Symptoms include a striking onset of gasping respiration, hypotension, bradycardia, and cardiovascular collapse.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of amiodarone did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. 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.


In a total of 1836 patients in controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials, 14% of patients received amiodarone HCl injection for at least one week, 5% received it for at least 2 weeks, 2% received it for at least 3 weeks, and 1% received it for more than 3 weeks, without an increased incidence of severe adverse reactions. The mean duration of therapy in these studies was 5.6 days; median exposure was 3.7 days.

The most important treatment-emergent adverse effects were hypotension, asystole/cardiac arrest/ electromechanical dissociation (EMD), cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, bradycardia, liver function test abnormalities, VT, and AV block. Overall, treatment was discontinued for about 9% of the patients because of adverse effects. The most common adverse effects leading to discontinuation of amiodarone HCl injection therapy were hypotension (1.6%), asystole/cardiac arrest/EMD (1.2%), VT (1.1%), and cardiogenic shock (1%).

The following table lists the most common (incidence ≥ 2%) treatment-emergent adverse events during amiodarone HCl injection therapy considered at least possibly drug-related. These data were collected in clinical trials involving 1836 patients with life-threatening VT/VF. Data from all assigned treatment groups are pooled because none of the adverse events appeared to be dose-related.





Study Event









Body as a Whole


24 (2.9%)

13 (1.2%)

37 (2%)

Cardiovascular System


49 (6%)

41 (4%)

90 (4.9%)

Congestive heart failure

18 (2.2%)

21 (2%)

39 (2.1%)

Heart arrest

29 (3.5%)

26 (2.5%)

55 (2.9%)


165 (20.2%)

123 (12%)

288 (15.6%)

Ventricular tachycardia

15 (1.8%)

30 (2.9%)

45 (2.4%)

Digestive System

Liver function tests abnormal

35 (4.2%)

29 (2.8%)

64 (3.4%)


29 (3.5%)

43 (4.2%)

72 (3.9%)

Other treatment-emergent possibly drug-related adverse events reported in less than 2% of patients receiving amiodarone HCl injection in controlled and uncontrolled studies included the following: abnormal kidney function, atrial fibrillation, diarrhea, increased ALT, increased AST, lung edema, nodal arrhythmia, prolonged QT interval, respiratory disorder, shock, sinus bradycardia, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, thrombocytopenia, VF, and vomiting.

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