Sotalol HCL (also marketed under the brand name Betapace AF) is commonly prescribed to treat a severe and often life-threatening condition in which the heart beats faster than normal (ventricular tachycardia or VT). It is also used to treat specific heart rhythm problems that are referred to as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
If you or someone you know is suffering from VT, atrial fibrillation, or atrial flutter, Sotalol HCL may help. Use the below information as a guide to help you determine if it could be the proper medication for you, but always consult with your physician before starting any new medication.
Ventricular Tachycardia (VT), Atrial Fibrillation, and Atrial Flutter
Starting in the heart's lower chambers (ventricles), a person is considered to have VT when they have three or more heartbeats in a row at a rate of more than 100 beats a minute.
There are two types of VT:
When your heart beats too rapidly, your heart doesn't have enough time to fill with blood before it contracts again, affecting blood flow to the rest of your body.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a fluttering/irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. The American Heart Association states that nearly 2.7 million Americans are currently living with AFib.
The heart's upper chambers (the atria) beat irregularly in atrial fibrillation instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. There are different types of AFib, including:
One of the more common arrhythmias, atrial flutter, is an abnormal electrical circuit in the heart's upper chambers (atria) that makes the atria beat quickly and flutter instead of fully squeezing.
Complications and Symptoms
When your heart beats faster than normal for more than a few seconds, it can become life-threatening.
Symptoms of VT may include:
Fast heartbeat/fluttering feeling in the chest (palpitations)
Shortness of breath
In some cases, there are no symptoms at all
In certain cases, those with AFib can also experience no symptoms and the condition may only be detectable upon physical examination. Others may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Fluttering or "thumping" in the chest
Shortness of breath and anxiety
Faintness or confusion
Fatigue when exercising
Again, some people have no or very minor symptoms. Those who do have symptoms often experience:
Shortness of breath
Swelling in your feet and legs (fluid retention)
*Chest pain or pressure can be a sign of a heart attack. You should seek medical attention right away.
What is Sotalol HCL, and how does it Work?
Sotalol HCL is available by prescription only, in a tablet or solution form. Considered a beta-blocker and an antiarrhythmic, Sotalol works by affecting the response to nerve impulses, helping the heart beat slower and ease into a more regular rhythm.
How Do You Use Sotalol HCL to Treat VT, AFib, and Atrial Flutter?
Sotalol should be taken as directed by your doctor. Do not take more than recommended. You will receive this medicine in a hospital where your doctor can monitor your heart rhythm for the first three days.
Sotalol oral is taken by mouth. The Sotalol injection is administered as an infusion by a healthcare provider when you cannot take the medication orally.
It is essential that you first consult your healthcare provider before starting any new prescription medication. Also, always be sure to carefully follow the recommendations of your health care provider, use Sotalol as instructed and as per the directions on the prescription label.
What are the side effects of Sotalol HCL?
It is possible to experience side effects when using Sotalol HCL. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms don't go away or get worse.
Common side effects include:
Serious side effects can also occur. If you experience any allergic reactions, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek medical attention immediately.
You should also seek emergency medical treatment right away if you experience:
Fast heartbeats/ fluttering in your chest
Sudden dizziness or faintness (like you might pass out)
Slow heartbeats (especially if you feel light-headed)
Swelling and/or rapid weight gain
Feeling short of breath
You should always disclose to your healthcare provider all other medications you are taking before starting Sotalol, especially if you are using:
Sotalol HCL may be the best treatment for you or someone you know who suffers from VT, AFib, or Atrial Flutters.
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