Aratac (amiodarone) is a generic drug that treats irregular heart rhythm. Unfortunately, it is associated with severe lung damage, pulmonary toxicity, blindness, vision loss, and death.
What is Aratac?
Aratac is a generic drug that contains amiodarone. It is manufactured by Alphapharm, a company that markets generic drugs in Australia.
What Does Aratac Treat?
Aratac is an anti-arrhythmic drug. It treats irregular heart rhythm by relaxing overactive heart muscles. Aratac is approved for adults with ventricular arrhythmias, a life-threatening irregular heart rhythm that affects the lower chambers of the heart.
Aratac Health Risks
Aratac contains amiodarone, which has been widely used to treat serious arrhythmias for more than a decade. Unfortunately, it has also been linked to severe toxicities, especially in the lungs, but also in the liver, thyroid gland, eyes, skin, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and heart.
Symptoms of Worsening Heart Problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
Lung Damage Side Effects
- Shortness of breath
- Irritating cough
- Coughing up blood
Other Severe Side Effects
- Vision problems
- Loss of muscle coordination in arms and legs
FDA Warnings for Amiodarone
Due to the very serious nature of these side effects, the FDA recommends only using amiodarone as a treatment of last resort, after other treatments have failed to control irregular heart rhythm.
The FDA also warns that serious side effects can persist for many months after amiodarone is discontinued. Certain lung abnormalities, for example, may still be detected 18 months after the patient stops taking the drug.
FDA Warning: Aratac + Zocor
Patients taking Aratac (amiodarone) also often take a statin to lower cholesterol and reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke. One of the most popular statins is simvastatin, sold under the brand name Zocor.
Unfortunately, high doses of simvastatin have been associated with degenerative muscle disease, especially when combined with amiodarone. In December 2011, the FDA published a Drug Safety Communication to advise limiting simvastatin to 20-mg per day when combined with amiodarone.
Degenerative Muscle Disease
One serious side effect of combining Aratac (amiodarone) with Zocor (simvastatin) is degenerative muscle disease. Mild to moderate cases are also known as myopathy, a disease that is characterized by muscle aches, pains, weakness, and the breakdown of muscle fibers.
Untreated myopathy can progress to life-threatening rhabdomyolysis, in which proteins from damaged muscle fibers clog the kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis can cause kidney failure and death.
Severe Side Effects of Aratac
- Lung damage
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Liver damage
- Worsening arrhythmia
- Cardiac arrest
- Thyroid problems
- Vision problems
- Nerve damage (weakness, tingling, numbness)
- Problems walking,
- Skin reactions
- And more