Betapace is commonly prescribed for treating atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and other types of irregular heart rhythms. It comes in tablet form and is typically taken one to three times a day. The medication works by blocking potassium channels in the heart, slowing the heart rate, and increasing the amount of time that the AV node is not responsive to an electrical signal.
What Is Betapace?
Betapace® (sotalol hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved to treat various irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Betapace AF® is approved to treat atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, while the regular formula is approved to treat other arrhythmias. There are no important differences between the two, except Betapace AF comes with a special patient package insert with information for people with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
Brand-name Betapace and Betapace AF are made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers.
How Does It Work?
Betapace belongs to two different classes of drugs; it is both a beta blocker and a Class III antiarrhythmic medication.
As a beta blocker, Betapace slows down the heart rate and increases the amount of time that a certain area of the heart (the AV node) is not responsive to an electrical signal. This means that if an electrical signal comes too soon, which could happen with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, the signal will not pass on to the rest of the heart.
As a Class III antiarrhythmic medication, Betapace blocks potassium channels in the heart. This action helps to control an irregular heart rhythm.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 7, 2009.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed May 7, 2009.
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