Amiodarone can do to your lungs significant damage, leading to potentially life threatening conditions such as ARDS.
What is Amiodarone?
Amiodarone, also sold under brand name Pacerone, is a medication used for the treatment of heart rate arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cardiac arrhythmia is one of the more common heart disorders. Amiodarone works by influencing the electrical impulses in the heart to regulate heartbeats.
According to Healthline, side effects of amiodarone may include:
- Coordination problems
- Stomach pain
- Decreased sex drive
- And uncontrollable movements of the body
More severe side effects of the drug may include allergic reactions, vision changes like optic nerve damage or blindness, liver problems, heart problems, thyroid problems, nerve damage, serious skin reactions, and more.
Due to the side effects associated with amiodarone, the drug is typically only used in patients who have been treated unsuccessfully with other medications and who have life-threatening arrhythmias.
What Does Amiodarone Do to Your Lungs?
Around five percent of patients taking amiodarone will develop lung toxicity. It’s unclear why these complications arise from amiodarone and scientists do not know whether the drug causes direct damage, an immune response, or some other sort of damaging mechanism. The damage amiodarone can do to your lungs typically comes in four forms: acute respiratory distress syndrome, interstitial pneumonitis, organizing pneumonia, and solitary pulmonary masses.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the most dangerous type of lung toxicity caused by amiodarone. This condition involves damage to the membranes of the air sacs found in the lungs. The damage reportedly causes a buildup of fluid, limiting the lungs’ ability to effectively provide oxygen to the heart. ARDS usually presents itself with sudden, severe shortness of breath.
This condition is more typical in people who either are seriously ill or have suffered serious injuries, and many of those who develop ARDS do not survive.
Interstitial pneumonitis (IP) is the most common form of amiodarone pulmonary toxicity. This condition involves the air sacs of the lungs slowly filling with fluid and inflammatory cells which interferes with the lungs’ function. IP usually develops slowly and may present with progressing shortness of breath, cough, and fatigue.
Less common are typical pattern or organizing pneumonia. This results in a localized area of congestion in the lung that closely resembles bacterial pneumonia. Even rarer are solitary pulmonary masses. These masses can be identified as amiodarone lung toxicity once biopsied.
Can Amiodarone Side Effects Be Treated?
Some amiodarone side effects can be treated while others may be harder to resolve. In general, stopping treatment with amiodarone may improve conditions. However, the drug can stay in the body for months, meaning that conditions may take a long time to resolve.
ARDS typically requires patients to be put on mechanical ventilators. Even with intensive therapy and treatment with steroids, the mortality rate of ARDS is around 50 percent.
Unfortunately, IP is often missed by doctors because its symptoms are commonly mistaken for heart failure or the natural effects of aging. This means that it may not be treated, leading to more complications.
Organizing pneumonia may be treated as bacteria pneumonia at first due to their close resemblance. Once these pneumonia fail to respond to antibiotics, doctors may consider amiodarone toxicity and treat them accordingly.
Solitary pulmonary masses may be mistaken for tumors or infection, but biopsies will show that they actually resulted from amiodarone lung toxicity.
Can I File an Amiodarone Lawsuit?
Even though amiodarone is not supposed to be used as a first-line drug, some drugmakers have allegedly been marketing the medication toward the public in an attempt to position it as a first-line medication option.
If you or someone you love has suffered from lung problems or other side effects of amiodarone, you may be able to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation. Of course, filing a lawsuit cannot take away the pain and suffering caused by these side effects, nor can it bring a loved one back to life, but it can at least help to alleviate the financial burden incurred by medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Filing a lawsuit can be daunting prospect, especially while dealing with health complications, so Top Class Actions has laid the groundwork for you by connecting you with an experienced attorney. Consulting an attorney can help you determine if you have a claim, navigate the complexities of litigation, and maximize your potential compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered from a serious amiodarone side effect, you may qualify to join this amiodarone toxicty lawsuit investigation. Filing an amiodarone lawsuit may help you recover some of the medical costs and lost wages associated with the amiodarone injury. See if you qualify by filling out the form on this page for a free case evaluation.
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