Heart Disease Home > Betapace Side Effects
Shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue are some of the most common reactions reported with Betapace. Side effects of this medication are often more dangerous than those seen with other prescription drugs. Some of the potentially serious problems that should be reported to your healthcare provider include fainting, a slow heart rate, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Betapace® (sotalol hydrochloride). However, unlike many other medications, Betapace can often cause life-threatening problems. For this reason, the drug should only be used if the potential benefits clearly outweigh these dangerous side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Betapace. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Betapace side effects with you.)
Betapace has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In some (but not all) of these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people taking the drug are documented and compared to those that occur in another group of people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). This way, it is possible to see what problems occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. Sometimes a placebo was not used, especially when in the case of life-threatening arrhythmias, as this would be unethical.
In these studies, the most common side effects that occurred more frequently with Betapace than with the placebo included:
- Shortness of breath -- in up to 21 percent of people
- Dizziness -- up to 20 percent
- Fatigue -- up to 20 percent
- Slow heart rate (bradycardia) -- up to 16 percent
- Chest pain -- up to 16 percent
- Heart palpitations -- up to 14 percent
- General weakness -- up to 13 percent.
Other common side effects with Betapace (occurring in 5 to 12 percent of people) included but were not limited to:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Water retention or swelling
- Lung problems (no specific problems mentioned)
- Sleep problems (no specific problems mentioned)
- An abnormal electrocardiogram (also known as an ECG or EKG)
- Arm or leg pain
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Excessive sweating
- Heart failure
- New or worsened arrhythmia
- Visual problems (no specific problems mentioned).
Many of these common side effects are also dangerous (see the following section for more information).