Heart Disease Home > Precautions and Warnings With Flecainide
Specific Flecainide Precautions and WarningsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
- In a clinical trial, people who had a heart attack within the past two years before starting flecainide had a higher risk of death and of their heart stopping than people not given flecainide. It is unknown whether people who have not had a heart attack in the past two years have the same risk. However, because of these risks, and because flecainide has not been shown to help people with arrhythmias live longer, it should only be used to treat people with life-threatening arrhythmias.
- People with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter may have a higher risk for developing other heart rhythm problems when taking flecainide. This medication should not be used to treat chronic atrial fibrillation (atrial fibrillation that is persistent).
- Like other antiarrhythmia medications, flecainide can cause new or worsened heart rhythm problems, including potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. People being treated for sustained ventricular tachycardia must start flecainide in the hospital, where they can be closely monitored.
- This medication may cause new or worsened heart failure. Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your heart failure medications or your flecainide dose. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you develop any symptoms of heart failure, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased tiredness
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet.
- If you have a pacemaker, it will need to be monitored closely and possibly reprogrammed during and after flecainide treatment.
- Low or high potassium blood levels can affect how flecainide works and will need to be corrected before treatment begins. Your healthcare provider can check your potassium level with a simple blood test.
- This medication has been associated with heart attacks and death when given to children with heart disease. Children receiving flecainide should start treatment in a hospital setting, and be treated by a cardiologist who has experience treating children with arrhythmias.
- This medication should not be used in people with severe liver disease, unless the healthcare provider believes the benefits of treatment outweigh any potential risks. People with significant liver disease will need to have their flecainide blood levels monitored to help guide dosage selection.
- Flecainide may react with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Flecainide).
- Flecainide is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy (see Tambocor and Pregnancy).
- Flecainide passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Tambocor and Breastfeeding).