Disopyramide Phosphate ER (Page 2 of 4)

Negative Inotropic Properties:

Heart Failure/Hypotension

Disopyramide phosphate may cause or worsen congestive heart failure or produce severe hypotension as a consequence of its negative inotropic properties. Hypotension has been observed primarily in patients with primary cardiomyopathy or inadequately compensated congestive heart failure. Disopyramide phosphate should not be used in patients with uncompensated or marginally compensated congestive heart failure or hypotension unless the congestive heart failure or hypotension is secondary to cardiac arrhythmia. Patients with a history of heart failure may be treated with disopyramide phosphate but careful attention must be given to the maintenance of cardiac function, including optimal digitalization. If hypotension occurs or heart failure worsens, disopyramide phosphate should be discontinued and, if necessary, restarted at a lower dosage only after adequate cardiac compensation has been established.

QRS Widening

Although it is unusual, significant widening (greater than 25%) of the QRS complex may occur during disopyramide phosphate administration; in such cases disopyramide phosphate should be discontinued.

Q-T Prolongation

As with other Type 1 antiarrhythmic drugs, prolongation of the Q-T interval (corrected) and worsening of the arrhythmia, including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, may occur. Patients who have evidenced prolongation of the Q-T interval in response to quinidine may be at particular risk. As with other Type 1A antiarrhythmics, disopyramide phosphate has been associated with torsade de pointes.

If a Q-T prolongation of greater than 25% is observed and if ectopy continues, the patient should be monitored closely, and consideration be given to discontinuing disopyramide phosphate.


In rare instances significant lowering of blood glucose values has been reported during disopyramide phosphate administration. The physician should be alert to this possibility, especially in patients with congestive heart failure, chronic malnutrition, hepatic, renal or other diseases or drugs (e.g., beta adrenoceptor blockers, alcohol) which could compromise preservation of the normal glucoregulatory mechanisms in the absence of food. In these patients the blood glucose levels should be carefully followed.

Concomitant Antiarrhythmic Therapy:

The concomitant use of disopyramide phosphate with other Type 1A antiarrhythmic agents (such as quinidine or procainamide) Type 1C antiarrhythmics (such as encainide, flecainide or propafenone), and/or propranolol should be reserved for patients with life-threatening arrhythmias who are demonstrably unresponsive to single-agent antiarrhythmic therapy. Such use may produce serious negative inotropic effects, or may excessively prolong conduction. This should be considered particularly in patients with any degree of cardiac decompensation or those with a prior history thereof. Patients receiving more than one antiarrhythmic drug must be carefully monitored.

Heart Block:

If first-degree heart block develops in a patient receiving disopyramide phosphate the dosage should be reduced. If the block persists despite reduction of dosage, continuation of the drug must depend upon weighing the benefit being obtained against the risk of higher degrees of heart block. Development of second- or third-degree AV block or unifascicular, bifascicular or trifascicular block requires discontinuation of disopyramide phosphate therapy, unless the ventricular rate is adequately controlled by a temporary or implanted ventricular pacemaker.

Anticholinergic Activity:

Because of its anticholinergic activity, disopyramide phosphate should not be used in patients with glaucoma, myasthenia gravis or urinary retention unless adequate overriding measures are taken; these consist of the topical application of potent miotics (e.g., pilocarpine) for patients with glaucoma, and catheter drainage or operative relief for patients with urinary retention. Urinary retention may occur in patients of either sex as a consequence of disopyramide phosphate administration, but males with benign prostatic hypertrophy are at particular risk. In patients with a family history of glaucoma, intraocular pressure should be measured before initiating disopyramide phosphate therapy. Disopyramide phosphate should be used with special care in patients with myasthenia gravis since its anticholinergic properties could precipitate a myasthenic crisis in such patients.



Atrial Tachyarrhythmias

Patients with atrial flutter or fibrillation should be digitalized prior to disopyramide phosphate administration to ensure that drug-induced enhancement of AV conduction does not result in an increase of ventricular rate beyond physiologically acceptable limits.

Conduction Abnormalities

Care should be taken when prescribing disopyramide phosphate for patients with sick sinus syndrome (bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome), Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW), or bundle branch block. The effect of disopyramide phosphate in these conditions is uncertain at present.


Patients with myocarditis or other cardiomyopathy may develop significant hypotension in response to the usual dosage of disopyramide phosphate, probably due to cardiodepressant mechanisms. Therefore, a loading dose of disopyramide phosphate should not be given to such patients and initial dosage and subsequent dosage adjustments should be made under close supervision (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Renal Impairment

More than 50% of disopyramide is excreted in the urine unchanged. Therefore, disopyramide phosphate dosage should be reduced in patients with impaired renal function (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). The electrocardiogram should be carefully monitored for prolongation of PR interval, evidence of QRS widening or other signs of overdosage (see OVERDOSAGE). The extended-release product is not recommended for patients with severe renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance 40 mL/min or less).

Hepatic Impairment

Hepatic impairment also causes an increase in the plasma half-life of disopyramide. Dosage should be reduced for patients with such impairment. The electrocardiogram should be carefully monitored for signs of overdosage (see OVERDOSAGE). Patients with cardiac dysfunction have a higher potential for hepatic impairment; this should be considered when administering disopyramide phosphate.

Potassium Imbalance

Antiarrhythmic drugs may be ineffective in patients with hypokalemia, and their toxic effects may be enhanced in patients with hyperkalemia. Therefore, potassium abnormalities should be corrected before starting disopyramide therapy.

Drug Interactions

If phenytoin or other hepatic enzyme inducers are taken concurrently with disopyramide phosphate, lower plasma levels of disopyramide may occur. Monitoring of disopyramide plasma levels is recommended in such concurrent use to avoid ineffective therapy. Other antiarrhythmic drugs (e.g., quinidine, procainamide, lidocaine, propranolol) have occasionally been used concurrently with disopyramide phosphate. Excessive widening of the QRS complex and/or prolongation of the Q-T interval may occur in these situations (see WARNINGS). In healthy subjects, no significant drug-drug interaction was observed when disopyramide phosphate was coadministered with either propranolol or diazepam. Concomitant administration of disopyramide phosphate and quinidine resulted in slight increases in plasma disopyramide levels and slight decreases in plasma quinidine levels. Disopyramide phosphate does not increase serum digoxin levels.

Until data on possible interactions between verapamil and disopyramide phosphate are obtained, disopyramide should not be administered within 48 hours before or 24 hours after verapamil administration.

Although potent inhibitors of cytochrome P450 3A4 (eg, ketaconazole) have not been studied clinically, in vitro studies have shown that erythromycin and oleandomycin inhibit the metabolism of disopyramide. Cases of life-threatening interactions have been reported for disopyramide when given with clarithromycin and erythromycin indicating that coadministration of disopyramide with inhibitors of cytochrome 3A4 could result in potentially fatal interaction.

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