Did the Treatment for an Abnormal Heart Beat Cause More Harm than Good?

There are few things more heartbreaking than learning that the medication you or a loved one took to cure a condition ended up making the situation even worse. Sometimes, a prescribed medication causes irreversible damage, or even death. Such has been the case with a commonly prescribed heart medication by the name of amiodarone.

You might feel powerless and unsure where to turn when you suspect a medication you or a loved one was taking is the cause of a serious medical condition. The Houston-based attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help you find the answers you are seeking.

Were You Prescribed Amiodarone for Your Arrhythmia?

When your doctor first diagnoses arrhythmia, or an abnormal heart beat, you are probably worried about how this condition is going to affect your quality of life. After all, some types of arrhythmia can be fatal.

  • Tachycardia, a faster than normal heart rate, can lead to sudden cardiac arrest or organ failure.
  • Atrial fibrillation, which occurs when the heart’s atrial chambers flutter rather than strongly pump, may cause a blood clot that could migrate to the brain and cause a stroke.

So when your doctor talks about treatment options, your anxiety may distract you from the caution due. You may not ask the right questions, for example:

  • Does my condition warrant this particular drug?
  • What risks have been shown in clinical trials?
  • What risk symptoms should I be aware of before taking my prescribed medication?
The attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law know that a failure to connect the dots can lead to serious, even catastrophic injury, and we are here to help clients receive compensation for dangerous drug cases like these.

Amiodarone Is a Drug of Last Resort

A medication millions of Americans have been prescribed for the treatment of potentially fatal atrial arrhythmias is amiodarone, the generic form of a drug sold in the United States under the brand names Cordarone® and Pacerone®. The drug was developed as a safety measure for patients undergoing heart surgery and has been FDA approved to treat supraventricular and ventricular fibrillation.

Amiodarone is considered a drug of last resort, meaning that your physician will prescribe it when he/she believes the treatment of your condition is more important than typical side effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shaking
  • Tiredness.

One problem with amiodarone is that some physicians will prescribe this drug of last resort for atrial arrhythmia, something amiodarone has not been FDA approved to treat. If you believe you have been wrongly prescribed amiodarone for your abnormal heart beat, the offices of Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are here to help determine whether you are entitled to seek compensation for any resulting injuries you may have developed.

Amiodarone Can Cause Pulmonary Toxicity, Liver Failure, Blindness, and Death

The reason amiodarone is a drug of last resort has to do with the potentially fatal toxicity this medication can produce in the human body. It has an iodine-containing component that can build up in the internal organs, tissues, and muscles of the body over time, causing a number of serious conditions.

Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity (APT)

One is a rare condition called Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity (APT). APT occurs when the medication builds up in the lung tissue, leading to a decreased ability to breathe and the possibility of nodules forming in the lungs. Although the risks of developing this condition are higher for those taking a high dosage, APT can occur even at lower doses. It has a tendency to affect patients, especially women, who have no prior history of lung disease.

Liver Failure

Any compound that builds up in the body over time is bound to collect in the liver since this is the organ responsible for removing toxins. According to LiverTox,” liver injury from amiodarone is uncommon but not rare.” The drug can cause cirrhosis and other serious liver injuries.

Blindness

The toxicity of the drug can also lead to Amiodarone-Associated Optic Neuropathy, a condition that has a rapid onset in nearly one-half of the patients who report it. Although most patients experience better vision after stopping their use of amiodarone, in 20% of cases, vision loss continues even after discontinuation of the medication, and the same percentage of patients will eventually become legally blind.

Let Us Help You Determine the Next Step

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured from taking the prescription medication amiodarone, you may be entitled to compensation. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Disclaimer: Do not stop taking a prescription medication without first consulting with your doctor. Discontinuing a prescribed medication without your doctor’s advice can result in injury or death. Cases may be referred to another attorney or law firm.