Amiodarone-Induced Pulmonary Toxicity

Author: V. Dimov, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist and Assistant Professor at University of Chicago
Reviewer: S. Randhawa, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist and Assistant Professor at LSU (Shreveport) Department of Allergy and Immunology

A 57-year-old AAM is admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath (SOB) for 7 days. He has leg edema, which is getting progressively worse, to the point where his scrotum, penis and even lower abdomen are edematous. He does not have chest pain (CP) or abdominal pain. He is morbidly obese and has difficulty ambulating, using a wheelchair at home.

Past Medical History (PMH)

Congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension (HTN), diabetes melitus type 2 (DM2), coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic kidney disease (CKD), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), atrial fibrillation (AFib), gout, osteoarthritis (OA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on home oxygen (O2) 3 L/min and CPAP.

Medications

KCl, Coreg (Carvedilol), Zocor (Simvastatin), Flomax (Tamsulosin), Lasix (Furosemide), Clonidine, Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen), Nifedipine XL, Humulin N (human NPH insulin injection [rDNA origin]), aerosols, Amiodarone.

Social history (SH)

Negative.

Physical examination

VS 36.4-80-22-160/77.
SpO2 94% on 3 L/min.
Morbidly obese, appears mildly tachypneic.
Chest: mild respiratory distress with RR 22, bibasilar rales.
CVS: irregularly irregular rhythm.
Abdomen: obese, soft, generalized anasarca with edema extending up to the level of his umbilicus. His penis and testicles are edematous. He has 2 to 3+ peripheral edema with bilateral Dome wraps on for management of stasis edema.


The CXR shows pulmonary congestion (click to enlarge the image).


CBC, CMP (click to enlarge the image).

Diagnosis

Right-sided and left-sided CHF.

What happened?

The treatment was started with Lasix IV and CPAP. AMI was "ruled out" but he continued to be tachypneic and hypoxic.

What happened next?

Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity was suspected.

The patient was diagnosed with AFib with RVR (difficult to control) one year ago. He was started on Amiodarone 400 mg qd, then the dose was decreased to 200 mg qd.

What are the tests of choice for Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity?

High-resolution CT scan of the chest and PFT with DLCO.


High-resolution CT of the chest (click to enlarge the images).


High-resolution CT of the chest (click to enlarge the images).


High-resolution CT of the chest (click to enlarge the images).

Report of the CT of the chest: Nonspecific diffuse ground glass mosaic pattern of the lung parenchyma. There are bilateral linear scars or atelectases particularly into the lower lobes and right middle lobe. Impression: Nonspecific ground glass mosaic pattern indicating interstitial lung disease.

Final diagnosis

Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity.

What did we learn from this case?

Amiodarone-induced lung toxicity occurs in 6-15% of the patients treated with the medication. A decrease of 15% in DLCO helps make the diagnosis.

Toxicity occurs even with the lower amiodarone doses such as 200 mg qd.

The treatment is with a corticosteroid trial, similar to the therapy of other idiopathic interstitial lung diseases. However, there is no conclusive evidence that that steroids are beneficial in the treatment of amiodarone-induced lung toxicity.

References

Pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis associated with amiodarone treatment: a possible complication of a new antiarrhythmic drug. This is the first report of Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity, Circulation, 1982.
Amiodarone - Reevaluation of an Old Drug. Annals of Int Med.
Amiodarone-Induced Pulmonary Toxicity. NEJM Images.
Pulmonary Fibrosis, Idiopathic. eMedicine.
Amiodarone pulmonary toxicity. VH.org.
Amiodarone: Guidelines for Use and Monitoring. AFP 12/03.

Published: 03/11/2004
Updated: 05/27/2010

79 comments:

  1. Amiodarone is a very dangerous drug. My father, a retired OBGYN, woke up on January 1 2004, his 69th Birthday, with a temp of 100, general malaise, and sore throat. Typical symptoms of the cold that was going around at the Holidays. He stayed in bed and missed his Birthday Party. He felt a little better on the 2nd. On January 3, our nightmare began as a family; my Dad was short of breath and thought that he might have pneumonia. My mom, his wife of 47 years, took him to the urgent care clinic. He had a Chest X-ray and was immediately admitted to the Hospital, with an initial dx of bilateral pneumonia. On January 4, he was transferred to ICU. He did not respond to antibiotics within 24-48 hours, and his Cardiologist and Pulmonologist put their heads together and feared that he was suffering from Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity. He had a lung bx shortly thereafter that confirmed their dx.
    My Dad had been on Amiodarone 200mg qd for 10 months, post oblation for chronic atrial fibrillation. He had no previously lung disease or open-heart surgery.
    He c/o of a dry cough for 2-3 months. His primary care doctor thought it was ENT related, and referred him to the ENT. The ENT thought it was GI related and sent him to GI. He never made it to that appointment, as he was in ICU.
    He was started on steroids within the first couple of days of his admission, and the amiodarone was dc'd.
    My Father had a normal CT scan of the lungs in the middle of Oct. 2003... Just 8 weeks later, fatal lung damage from Amiodarone.
    His condition continued to get worse. He was put on a ventilator on January 18, 2004, which he was unable to tolerate. . He was on high pressures and developed subcutaneous emphysema, pneumoperitoneum and pneumopericardium. They changed him to a low tidal volume protocol that was developed by the ARDS Network His lungs were so severely damaged that he still was not getting enough O2 to sustain his life. He had to be put on Vecuronium in order to tolerate settings, which included 35 breaths/minute. 5 Children and a wife of 47 years, watched over him for 49 days, as his condition deteriorated, and Never improved.
    The half-life of this drug is so dangerous. Once toxicity was dx, it didn't matter that the drug was dc'd as it continued to do damage. Steroids did not improve his condition at all.
    It appears that most literature I have read, states concerns with doses over 300mg/day. Well, here is a case where a patient was only on 200mg/day for 10 months, and ended up with Fatal Pulmonary Toxicity. In addition, they underplay the need for close monitoring of the lung status of patients on amiodarone. They absolutely need to come up with a new protocol, monitoring lung function much more frequently than q3-6months. A chest x-ray, had it been done even 8 weeks prior to this event, would not have clued anyone into the fact that he was developing Pulmonary Toxicity. He had a CT scan, which was Normal.
    Further, the drug company made over 3 billion dollars in profit for patients on Amiodarone for off-label use. The last drug insert I read for Amiodarone states that adequate studies were NOT performed on people over the age of 65. How irresponsible. If they are making that kind of money, how could they not perform adequate studies? Perhaps studies were done, and the results so poor that they were afraid to publish them. Rather than losing 3 billion dollars they decided to state that adequate studies weren’t performed. How can they be so irresponsible? The law should require drug companies to conduct adequate studies before a drug can be used for off-label use. In 2005 I was able to push the FDA to force the Drug company to put out stronger warnings to the public, which they did.
    However, the dangers of this drug still continue.
    When I sent the incident report to the FDA, I received a canned response stating, “Thank you for informing us of “YOUR” incident”. It is apparent that they do not even read the incident report. For God sake I was reporting a death.
    I feel compelled to write to as many people as possible, to warn against the dangerous effects of this drug.
    My father passed away, after 7 weeks in ICU, on February 20, 2004. He left behind, 5 broken hearted children, a broken hearted wife, 3 broken hearted grandchildren, 3 broken hearted sons-in law, and 1 broken hearted daughter in law.
    Please, please, do what ever you can to put stronger warnings out, and push the drug companies to "red label" prescriptions, "If a cough or flu symptoms develop, contact your Physician Immediately. These can be signs of Pulmonary Toxicity, which can be Fatal, if left untreated"
    In addition, I think patients should be required to sign a consent form, notifying them of the warnings.
    Further, more needs to be done in the Medical Community to educate Primary Care Physicians of the severe effects of some drugs.
    Red warning labels should be put on the Patients Medical Chart.
    We experienced first hand, the very slight symptoms of Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity. My Dad's symptoms went unnoticed by him, a Physician, as they were so minor. He thought he had developed allergies, or that our air was too dry, and thus the dry cough. He had no other symptoms that would have caused any alarm. Just 6 days prior to be hospitalized he enjoyed a wine tasting gondola cruise through the marina in Long Beach with his entire family. He was running around, getting in out of the boat just fine, no Shortness of Breath. I lived with him, and he presented NO symptoms of concern. He was filled with energy and life, just 2 days before being hospitalized.

    Thank you for the opportunity to write my story.

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    Replies
    1. My mother, aged 85 yo, had surgery for colon cancer. A year previously she had irregular heartbeat and her cardiologist put her on amiodarone, and he ok'd her for surgery. The surgery went fine, but two days afterwards she developed shortness of breath. Now, she can't walk 10 feet without becoming severely out of breath. She was diagnosed with lung toxicity due to amiodarone. How can they still give this medication to people when clearly it is life threatening. My mom will never be the same and is slowly dying because of this toxic medication. Are there any lawsuits pending against amiodarone?

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    2. I am devastated as my dad also is fighting for his life from this amiodarone lung toxicity. He had developed a slight irregular heartbeat and the doctor put him on this medication for only 10 days. He was in ICU for 11 days and now has been moved down to the pulmonary floor and struggling for every breath with the Cpap and steriods. I am in disbelief that my healthy father is now laying completely unable to breath at 100% oxygen and his xrays show severe damage and scaring to the lungs. I dont want to give up and am holding on that if this medication ever gets out of his system can he survive. This drug is terrible and I pray that anyone that has been touched with this medication can get is taken off the market immediately. I am on here looking for any treatment that could save my father. Steriods arent touching it. I cant give up. As long as he is still in this world I will pray for God to help heal him and anyone else that is fighting for their life from the damage this poison causes.

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  2. wWe are living the nightmare you just described. My dad has been in the hospital since Dec. 19 and on a ventilator since Dec. 26.

    The sad thing is that my brother, a family medicine doctor, read my dad's hospital chart and had to call to the attention of the attending cardiologist (at the first hospital he was in) that my dad was being prescribed amiodarone. His response "I didn't put him on it". Needless to say, we moved him to another hospital.

    My dad is not getting better and the family is slowly losing hope. I am so angry about this drug. My dad's cardiologist has had him on the drug since early 2004! The first of December, my 80-year old dad was still working and just six weeks later, he is critical with a poor prognosis. I wish we would have known about this drug.

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  3. My active healthy 82 year old independent living mother died yesterday from Amiodarone-induced pulmonary toxicity. We are all in shock! 2 weeks ago, they said she had a slight Pneumonia - today, she is gone after fighting for her life in ICU for 9 days. After reading these reports here - I see that my mums case is not an isolated one and the doctors need to do something to prevent this happening to as few people as possible, if any - obviously this drug is very dangerous and I don't believe the severity of these risks were explained to us by her heart doctor. We are heartbroken - maybe we should band together and form a protest making the public aware of our loved one's fate because of this drug.
    Tina Jorgenson @ tjorgy@telus.net

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  4. Thankyou for this website!
    My dad passed away January 19, 2007 from pulminary disease due to amiodarone toxicity. He was also diagnosed at first with pnuemonia. He was in CCU for 6 weeks, every day the seven of us children and our mother had to go there and watch him get sicker. He was ventilated, eventually he had paralysis from the neck down (mind you, he couldn't talk due to the ventilator), eventually we had to "make a decision" whether or not to let him go on like that.. It was the hardest decision we ever had to make. He had x-rays done on his chest the week before we took him to ER. His cardiologist said, "You are showing signs of side effects but it doesn't seem to be bothering you." Why didn't he take dad off the medication then?? I'm very angry and hurting-I miss my dad. He was on the amiodarone for 1 month. It killed him in 6 weeks. He was 83 years old. Thankyou for listening.

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  5. My uncle is in ICU right now with pulmonary toxicity, he is only 45 years old. He has been in ICU for 16 days now. He has 1 son in high school, 1 son in middle school, and they adopted a girl from China just 2 years ago. He is a non-smoker who is now fighting to live. If there is anything to push the drug companies to change or educate people, I will do anything to help prevent someone else from having to go through this.

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  6. I'm investigating the Amiodarone pulmonary toxicity death of a fellow 72-years-old. Does anyone know when the makers of Amiodarone actually came out with the FDA-required warnings about pulmonary toxicity (or if they ever did)?
    Brandon / BLC4law@aol.com

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  7. I found the following on the FDA site

    Amiodarone hydrochloride (marketed as Cordarone) Information



    FDA ALERT [05/2005] – Pulmonary toxicity, Hepatic Injury, and Worsened Arrhythmia
    Amiodarone may cause potentially fatal toxicities, including pulmonary toxicity, hepatic injury, and worsened arrhythmia.

    Amiodarone should only be used to treat adults with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias when other treatments are ineffective or have not been tolerated.

    This information reflects FDA’s preliminary analysis of data concerning this drug. FDA is considering, but has not reached a final conclusion about, this information. FDA intends to update this sheet when additional information or analyses become available.

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  8. My mother started taking Amiodarone December 2006 and we were just informed that she has severe lung damage, thyroid problems, vision problems, and liver problems all due to amiodarone toxicity.
    We were never warned about this danger. My mother is currently hospitalized in CCU.
    Something needs to be done to make sure that doctors tell patients of the risk involved.
    The only reason that it was discovered that she has amiodarone toxicity is that she was going to get an LVAD and did not qualify after testing showed she has this problem.
    My mother is 70 years old and worked until the day before going to the hospital April 2007.
    Maria - my email is felixdiaz@bellsouth.net

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  9. On JUne 30th the same thing happened to my father. He died of amiodarone toxicity which then increased his INR and he bled to death. My father was a brillant world renouned oral and maxillofacial surgeon. I am requesting all of his medical charts and I plan to pursue legal action against the doctors who misdiagnosed and treated him. He had a cough for 2 months followed up with his internist etc. I was screaming at them that this is what it was and they thought I was crazy. I am greatful for your posting
    Orthomab

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  10. I Lost my husband (he was only 62 and I am 37 )due to this drug in June of 2007 . Anyone with info on what to do to stop this madness please e-mail me at snow_angel182@hotmail.com

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  11. Well, my father-in-law is in the hospital also, dying from this disease. He started getting pheumonia and broncitous. The doctors here in Oklahoma didn't know anything about this disease. Last year, 2006, he went to Mayo Clinic and they looked at his medicines and knew exactly what it was. They changed is medicine to Mexitil and started him on breating treatments and exercise. However, the damage was already too bad. This is July 2007 and he is currently in the hospital dying. My husband contacted our local pharmacy and they said lots of people are on the medicine. I have four friends so far I have found that are also on the medicine. I am going with one August 9th to her doctor. If any one knows of a doctor in Oklahoma that knows about the disease or any other information, please contact me. dkalex99@yahoo.com Thank you.

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  12. My grandpa started on Amiodarone last Aug. and has been feeling worse and worse ever since. He has no energy at all, and I am very worried. we went to the doctor on Fri. and he said he suspected Amiodarone toxicity. Grandpa has had some tests done, showing a decline in lung function. We are to meet with his Dr. again on Sept. 7thto talk about his options, but I'm scared that more damage will be done in that amount of time. Does anyone know of a test that will show amiodarone toxicity for sure? Any other advice as well. Please email me at http:www.angieqncy@aol.com
    Thanks, Angie

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  13. My Dad is 84 years old and is dying from amiodarone pulmonary toxicity. He has been in the hospital since July 10. He is on oxygen and a steriod (among lasik etc) but has been getting weaker and weaker. He has always been such a strong person-a tough guy his whole life-but now he can hardly breathe, he can't walk and everything from eating to getting in and out of bed (just to the chair) is a chore. He is literally giving up because it is so hard for him to exist. It is very hard to see him like this. I am so mad at his cardiologist for putting him on this drug--my Dad was told that amiodarone could harm his body but he was never told about the side effect to the lung. And at no time was my Dad told to see a pulmonologist while he took the drug. My Dad was never given the option to take any other drug-or at least given the information that he could die from this medicine. How can these doctors/drug companies get away with this? Has anyone ever taken legal action? Please email me at teastley@ilfc.com

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  14. My 71 yo sister was just diagnosed with this condition yesterday following a CT scan of the lung. Her Amiodarone was prescribed 12 months ago for Atrial Fib and following receipt of a pacemaker. She began with a dry cough, and after several trips to the doctor and the emergency room with no problems noted in her lung x-rays, she was referred to a pulmologist. He Amirodane was discontinued immediately, she has been put on steroids which have no clinical proof of efficacy, and now takes breathing treatments twice daily. She feels well right now, and her doctor said no further lung damage SHOULD occur, but my research shows otherwise. Time with tell. She is also an active vibrant person with no warning of the side effect of this drug. I am considering legal action. That is my next research topic!

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  15. has anyone ever survived this toxic reaction? My mother has just been diagnosed. Her story is similar to all of the ones I read. Very scary.

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  16. Help!

    I have a 38yr old friend who is dying. Her history is one of young adult Hodgkins & then 5 years later Non – Hodgkins lymphoma. She was treated with body radiation and chemo therapy. She after treatment her health never fully recovered. This August ‘07 she was being seen for severe breathing issues. During the process of testing they uncovered damage to her heart valves and arteries. She underwent a triple bypass and valve repair and valve replacement. She was then put on a myriad of drugs including Amiodarone to stabilize her hear rhythm. Never was there any discussion about an alternative to using the Amiodarone. Until now…Jan ’08. She has been in and out of the hospital (mostly in) since August. She has had recurring pneumonia and just a constant state of fulid in her plural sacks. Her lungs definitely were not good to begin with, scarred from the radiation and then more from years of pulmonary problems & pneumonia. They have used chest tubes to drain the fluid, high doses of lasics. They have had to go in and scrape the plural sac of one lung because the fluid was too jell like in substance and would not drain…..yet again she began filling up and getting pneumonia. All Along continuing the treatment with Amiodarone. That brings us to today. She is currently back in ICU and on a ventilator she is deteriorated to a state that she will probably not recover. Yesterday was the first time that myself & the family had even heard of the possibility that she may have Amiodarone induced Pulmonary Fibrosis. Apparently there was another option available to putting her on the Amiodarone, it would have involved Electrical Ablation and a Pace Maker. This was not told to us by one of her doctors that have been part of her care team since the beginning, no it was mentioned by a friend who is a nurse. How can this happen. We knew nothing about the drug she had been on. I googled Amiodarone and found an endless amount of information supporting the fact that it is dangerous and causes the Pulmonary problems. As of now we do not have confirmed Fibrosis…probably never will, she is not strong enough to undergo the bronchial procedure and biopsy. So here we sit. She is now too weak to have the Pacemaker & Ablation procedure, she can not go off of the Amiodarone because she will die from hear rhythm failure and she is now drowning to death before our very eyes. How did the health care team not see this sooner? Obviously it is VERY WELL KNOWN that Amiodarone can induce Pulmonary Fibrosis. Whey did they not look to that as being the cause months and months ago when she had at least a little strength and something could be done?!!!! She is 38!!! She has battled her cancers….and won…..she could have had a fighting chance. I’m heartsick!!!

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  18. My 73 year old active mother died of amiodarone toxicity in late 07 after 6 weeks in CCU. During the 2 weeks prior to her being taken to the emergency room she had been to her doctor 3 times complaining of textbook symptoms of amiodarone side effects. On her 3rd visit, her doctor said, "What are you doing back here?!" He told her she was just depressed and prescribed Lexapro.
    She had been on a dose of 400 for about a year.
    After we (her 5 grown children) learned of the dx and the dangers that she had not been warned of, we had a mixture of anger (at doctors, at Wyeth) and and frustration. This did NOT have to happen. This should have been preventable. My heart goes out to all the other posters on this site; I know what you went through and are still going through. We have decided with mixed feelings to pursue legal action. Someone needs to start getting the message about this drug.

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  19. RE above post... she was on 400 amiodarone

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  20. My mother also died of Amiodarone pulmonary toxicity. She had been on the drug for 9 months, when she went to the ER with a dry cough and shortness of breath. One week prior to this she had been walking 4 miles/day, doing yoga, and volunteering at a retirment home 20 hrs/wk. A vibrant 80 year old woman. She had seen her doc the week prior complaining of shortness of breath and was told "she needed to realize she was getting old." The ER admitted her with a diagnosis of pnuemonia. For 5 days she underwent a myriad of diagnositc tests but she got worse and worse, finally unable to breath without full oxygen. I began to do internet research and came across the dangers of Amiodarone. Mentioning this to her docs I was told "this would be a rather severe reaction." They decided to do a lung biopsy but bec.she could not breath, she was intubated in the ICU. During this procedure, her lungs, tissue like and damaged from this drug, were inflated and immediately blew holes in them. It took 10 minutes for her to be stabalized with lung tubes but by this time she had suffered anoxic brain injury and was in a coma. They bagan to treat her with steroids for APT, but she made no nuerological progress and after 5 days in a coma, the family made the decision to remove life support. Our conversations with the hospital, doctors, attorneys, and the FDA were futile. There was no accountability AT ALL. We were told that the hospital and drug companies could outspend us 10,000 to 1. Basically, it was like go home and grieve, but get over it. I don't think I will ever have closure becasue this was so wrong, so pointless, and the medical/pharmacuetical industry seems not to care. I read from these postings that this continues to occur and I am heartbroken for you all. Is there nothing that can be done? God bless you all and your families.

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  21. My Father died from this drug too. He had been on it for Atrial Fib. for about three years. He seemed to get a bit of a cold, and after two or three days, it seemed to be getting better. Then, suddenly, it got worse, and we took him to E.R. Luckily, the Doctor there was on top of things. He looked at the X-rays, and looked up all of the medications he was taking. He picked out the Amiodorone right away as the probable cause. They kept him in ICU for about two weeks, but could not do a lung boipsy, because of his condition. We got him home on oxygen breifly, and then he went straight back to the hospital with worsening sysptoms. Then he was placed on a ventilator. He started to get V.A.P., and also had some other problems caused by the massive doses of steroids they had to give him to keep him alive. He died a little over three weeks later when we decided to remove life support.

    We did not pursue legal action, but, looking back, we probably should have. It would have cost us quite a bit, and we wouldn't have recovered anything. (He was 72 and retired) It would have been worth it, though. At least his situation would have gone on record, and become part of the statistics. As it is, the official cause of death was ARDS, and contrubuting factors were gastrointestinal bleeding. Also Steroid toxicity was listed. No Medwatch was filed, and the Doctor's told us that due to his condition no biopsy was possible. After he died, my Mother was told that an autopsy would only be done at our expense, so he was cremated the next day. Another case gets buried, and the fact that a patient on this drug died from a condition frequently linked to the drug in question never even gets counted.

    The bad part was that this didn't have to happen. He was prescribed this med for an Atrial Fib. condition, and told that they were going to do some tests on him to make sure the drug wasn't creating any problems. The Doctor acted like it was just a routine drug, and the side effects were nothing to worry about. We didn't know that the perscription was off lable, as this was before the 2005 change in lable status by the FDA.

    I am pleased to see that the FDA has tightened up on the labeling for this drug. I really wonder how many people have been killed by this drug, and others, and never even counted by the Government or the medical community. It seems that the Doctors didn't want to anything to raise the possibility, as they feared legal action, and time consuming paperwork. One Doctor, later told me that the hospital very strongly discourages them from putting any controversial causes or possible causes on death certificates. They were pretty much told not to "Rock the boat", but to treat patients, and not clog up the hospital's legal department.

    I would hope that the FDA will eventually feel enough heat over this drug to take more steps to prevent it from being used willy nilly, require closer monitering of patients on the drug, and most inportantly, continue to study the patients on the drug to see how much damage it really does.

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  22. As I am reading all the letters above me I am appalled by the actions of some of our drug companies. My wonderful healthy husband of 19 years,non smoker, a retired fighter pilot, a car racer, a glider flyer, a skier, a man that was at the gym 4 times a week and went up the stairs 2 steps a the time that I, younger, could not follow,was killed by a dangerous drug. Late in 2002 he was given 400 mg of Pacerone (Amiodarone) because of Atrial Fibrillation that a cardiologist attributed to a flu event.It did not work, so the doctor proceeded to perform an ablation that took care of the fibrillation and he was fine . BUT, the doctor decided that he continue the Amiodarone "just in case". The "just in case" slowly killed this much loved healthy man. Within a few months he lost 20 lbs, was short of breath, developed a dry cough and much more that those familiar with this Amiodarone tragedy are aware of. In the spring of 2004, as we were ready for a trip to Europe and he was skiing, he called me from the slopes that he was very short of breath.We, misstakenly had attributed much of it to growing old!!!!! We went to the cardiologist that for the first time told us that Amiodarone, AT TIMES, may cause pneumonia. Our nightmare started as we went to the hospital by ambulance. For 8 weeks this proud man was bombarded (after the hospital immediately suspended Amiodarone) by x-rays, biopsies, surgeries to remove constantly reoccuring pneumothorax, medications of all kinds, and so much more I cannot describe.ALL his doctors attributed the pulmonary toxicity to Amiodarone I know all of u that have written are very well aware of the pain and suffering of our loved ones. 8 weeks after entering the hospital I was asked to make a decision while my dearest husband was in the ICU attached to various life support items. God was merciful and I did not have to as he died unconscious while I was holding his hand for hours.I miss him terribly and I cry just like I cried 4 years ago. The tears on my keyboard. My life is still a blur at times and I rely on the hand of God to sustain me until the day I can join him. I will pray for all of u and hope we soon may be able to help stop the poison. And, by the way, for those who do not know, the advise to the pharmacists and doctors about the high level of mortality for those on Amiodarone, was not sent out until the end of 2004. Too late for my much loved companion. E.C.

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  23. I am sorry to tell you that these deaths are still occuring. My dad just died in February/08 aged 66 years old from amioderone lung toxicity. He was taking 200mg/day and had been taking it for about a year for atrial fibrillation. He started to become breathless but none of us even his doctor attributed this to amioderone because we didn't know this was a side effect to beware of. As you know every drug has paragraphs of potential side effects. If this very serious risk had been emphasised we might have clued in to what was happening. As soon as my dad was taken to emergency the respirologist took him off the drug but it was too late because it stays in the body for many weeks even after it has been stopped. I can't bear to describe the ordeal of the last two weeks of his life spent in intensive care. He was eventually put on a ventilator and we had the hugely distressing decision to turn it off. At that time he had 3 chest tubes in place and another one needed to be inserted.

    Something needs to be done to stop these deaths. People who take amioderone should be carefully monitored. My dad had a future that was taken by a drug that he wouldn't have swallowed if he knew that many people had died from it.

    It's so sad to read all these stories. My heart goes out to you all.

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  24. All of u that, like me have posted
    yr sad stories , ck this site...there are more and more and more. Bless u all.

    http://my.americanheart.org/jiveforum/thread.jspa?threadID=9521&start=45&tstart=0

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  25. I was started on 400mg/day of amiodarone for a-fib following mitral valve replacement in Oct 2007. I am a 40-yr old mother of four. I have the dry cough and actually bring up bloody phlem at times and have been bounced from the GP to the ENT, to the psychologist, ect. I have brought up the amiodarone and even my cardiology office denies any side effects that could present such as this. This is ridiculous that we all have to go through these stories. I have an appointment on Thurday and am demanding to be taken off this dangerous drug and be tested for any damage it may have caused.

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  26. WOW! Thank God I found this website. My father (67yo) is currently in the hospital diagnosed with what is now called Chronic Lung Disease. It is an umbrella term for his lung cancer (bilateral), pneumonia, emphysema, and bronchial fribrosis. My father had a quadrouple bypass 3 years ago tomorrow. He then had a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in October of the same year. He was placed on amiodarone two years ago at a "normal" dose. There has never been any monitoring of any organs or symptoms. In October 2007 he had a VFib attack in which his defibrillator had to fire 5 times to reset his heart. His cardiologist QUADROUPLED his dose of amiodarone for two months then lowered the dosage to TRIPLE what he was on before his attack. Again all this was done without any monitoring. No xrays, no lung function test, no blood work. I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with him (the day he turned 67). In January 2008 he started feeling sick with cold-like symptoms. Mom took him to a doc-in-the-box at WalMart and he was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent to the hospital. They treated the pneumonia and contributed it to congestive heart failure. He was released and sent home with oxygen. Over the next 7 weeks he went downhill fast. He lost 50 pounds (mostly muscle tissue) eventhough he was eating as much as always. His blood pressure was falling and he was getting weaker and weaker. His blood sugar level was all over the charts. He would range from 150-600+. Eventually, he stopped going upstairs and had to live in the guest room of his own house tethered to his Oxygen pump. He was on 19 medications when he came home from the hospital. He developed Hyperthyroidism and three weeks ago he had his thyroid taken out. Prior to this the doctor's answer to his hyperthyroidism was to put him on PTU and give it 4 weeks. That was four more weeks of weight loss and decline in health. When dad went in to have his thyroid removed to ultimately cure the hyperthyroidism the OR Prep Nurse told me "you know, we just did this on another guy last week due to amiodarone". That's one nurse's patient population at a single hospital in Greensboro, NC (pop about 350,000) and she is seeing one patient a week that has to have his/her thyroid removed due to this drug toxicity. My father has since found two other friends in the state who were diagnosed with amioderone toxicity. One luckily got to an endocrinologist at East Carolina University in time to reverse the side effects, the other unfortunately died. We are now three weeks postop from the thyroid removal and dad is still in the hospital. He is getting stronger but it is a very slow process. Today he bathed himself and walked down the hallway for the first time since his surgery. We are currently trying to get him strong enough to get out of the hospital and into a Rehab center to regain some strength. As we deal with the amiodarone damage to the lung tissue he is no where near strong enough for chemo. We have been told by the doctors that cancer treatment will probably not be an option and we should get him to a hospice facility. Ummm -- it's your drug that is causing him to be so weak he can't have chemo!!! Sorry this is so long but I know you all understand my story. As a dentist it has been very frustrating for me. I have tried to talk to his doctors but they don't want to talk to me. His general physician is the only one who will talk. His cardiologist won't even look my mom in the eye anymore. I don't know what, if any, legal action can be taken against the drug company in a class action law suit. I have a feeling they will just keep in court long enough to run all of us out of money and they can avoid owning up to their responsibility.

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  27. My dad has suffered many of the same symptoms that many of you are describing. He was put in the hospital on October 26, 2007. He left the hospital for 8 days for rehabilitation. He returned to the hospital and was there until November 26. He had all the symptoms that I've seen mentioned--the dry cough, thyroid malfunction, bleeding lungs, liver toxicity, etc. He was put on high doses of prednisone and I really don't know what else. He had yeast growing in his lungs, and the Herpes 1 virus was active in his lungs when they did a bronoscopy. The doctors explained if you had ever had a cold sore that the virus was in your body and could become active when your resistances were low. Once they did the bronoscopy (it was done on the 22nd day of his illness--we would have insisted they do it earlier if we knew then what we know now) and started treating all the problems in Dad's lungs, he started to do better. They had to give him several units of blood to offset what he had lost. I felt the doctors were giving up on Dad, but he kept hanging in and fighting as hard as he could. He asked them several times a day if he was going to make it. They told him it could go either way and they told us it was 80% against him and 20% for him living. He was in a nursing home from November 26 until March 31 doing rehabilitation. He had been so strong and indepent, but on the day they did the bronoscopy, he could not lift his foot off the bed. He could not pull himself up in bed for some time at the nursing home, but he now is at home. He is walking with a cane and tending to himself. We help by getting groceries, taking him to the doctor, cleaning house for him; but he is living alone and liking it. He is 85 years old. He is a living miracle. He still has a terrible cough; we don't know if it is a result of the amiodarone toxicity or allergy or what. Sometimes he's especially weak. But it is possible to survive. We all put him on our church prayer chains and asked people we didn't even know to pray for him. We have been blessed and I pray for each of your losses and the difficult times some of you are going through. May the Lord give you peace because this is one of the most difficult of things to go through.

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  28. The anonymous comment that I just posted failed to mention that my dad did have amiodarone toxicity. He had taken the drug since October 2000 when he had his heart attack.

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  29. I am a 77 year-old retired surgeon who has a long history of heart disease with two bypass surgeries (1981 and 1992) and other procedures unrelated to the heart. On June 13, 2008 I suffered a cardiac arrest that was defibrillated. I was then placed on Amiodarone with a 14-day loading dose of 800 mg/day and subsequently reduced to 200 mg/day. About the first of September, I began having an Upper respiratory syndrome with fever and a DRY COUGH. This was felt to be acute bronchitis as I had a normal chest x-ray, wheezes and rales at the bases. I have taken a course of Cipro and Biaxin without much improvement. My shortness of breath has remarkably increased. Today I had a follow-up pulmonary function test (I had a baseline on 16 June) and there is remarkable change typical of Amiodarone toxicity. As far as I know, there is no substitute for this drug and I am on a pacemaker.

    HD Liberty Lake, Wa

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  30. I am thankful for the information you all have shared, as I have relied on this information for the better part of this year.

    On April 3, 2008, my 80-year-old father (a retired Presbyterian minister who never smoked or drank and who walked 4 miles a day and still worked part-time at a local funeral home) collapsed in his home and could not summon help for 11 hours.

    He was rushed to a hospital touted as one of the top ten in America, and remained there for nearly 3 months, spending one week on a ventilator, and losing substantial amounts of weight as the doctors struggled to understand how such a remarkably healthy man could lose his lung capacity so drastically, and seemingly overnight.

    As it turned out, the diagnosis was pulmonary toxicity, and while the doctors within that hospital system were reluctant to admit it was their own prior prescribing of Pacerone that was at fault, there was absolutely no other explanation. He had been put on amiodorone for irregular heartbeat, and in five years, it never occurred to his doctors to warn him about any possible side effects.

    He went from the hospital to a nursing home for two months of rehabilitation but now requires oxygen and has lost a third of his body weight. He struggles mightily but even having taken no amiodorone since that fateful day in April, his condition is not improving and his life, as well as those of his children and grandchildren, will never be the same.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all whose loved ones have been felled by the untold side effects of this dangerous drug!

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  31. Weird, my husband has been on 200 mg/a day for two years. He has been felling terrible lately and coughing his head off, deep deep sounding but mostly dry. We went to doctor yesterday and I ask if it could be the medicine. She said no, because he had had a xray ran 2 months ago and his chest was clear, it was more likely bronical infection. He got a Zpak, and cough sryrup and an appointment to come back next week. I am wondering now if we need to pursue this more.

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  32. My father died July 30, 2008 of amiodarone toxicity. Six years ago he had a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted. March 14, 2008 his defibrillator fired 7 times. After two days in the cardiac unit of the local hospital, a cardiologist started him on Amiodarone. He went home and seemed to do well until the end of April. His first symptoms were tremors in his hands. His cardilogist was notified and he was told that this could be a side effect of the drug. By the end of May, he was getting weaker and had difficulty getting around his home. After another visit to the cardiologist, he had a drug induced stress test. The test came back "normal". In June, I stopped by his cardiologist's office and left a printed page of concerns for the doctor to read. The doctor was on vacation and the nurse promised me she would give my concerns to him. The following week after not hearing from the doctor, I called his office. The nurse told me she forgot to tell him about my concerns. The cardiologist that put him on the drug during his March hospital visit suggested that he get a thyroid function test. We did this and the test came back normal. By July, he was having greater difficulty getting around and started having some shortness of breath. He saw his cardiologist again on July 17 and was taken off of the amiodarone. By then it was too late. He entered the hospital on July 19 with Amiodarone induced pneumonitis. He seemed to get better with breathing treatments and steroids. After one week he went to a rehab facility only to stay one night. By the next morning he was in respiratory distress. He went back to the emergency room and was put in ICU. We were told that the pneumonia had returned. He spent one night in ICU and died the next morning. He left behind a loving wife of 69 years, four children, seven grandchildren and twenty-one great grandchildren. We miss him terribly. His attending physcian was sure that he died of Amiodarone toxicity. His cardiologist continued to tell us that we had no proof that this caused his death and there were no tests to verify the diagnosis. My heart goes out to all of you who have watched your loved one slip away due to this drug. Please contiue to be proactive with your doctor if your loved one is having any of the side effects from amiodarone.
    My father was a very active man even at 88 years of age. He lived to see 89 and passed away 15 days later. Don't let the doctors blame everything on age.

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  33. Anonymous, I feel your pain. My father died on December 10, of "aspiration pneumonitis" and pulmonary fibrosis, at the age of 81. He never gave up hope that the effects of the amiodorone toxicity could be reversed, but it was not to be. My life's mission now is to warn everyone I can about the risks of amiodorone exposure among the elderly!

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  34. Elizabeth, or anyone else...I am a nurse practitioner and unfortunately we have seen one too many cases of this amiodarone toxicity in our patients lately. I have a question, because somehow, I feel we as healthcare providers may be able to diagnose this earlier. Did any of your family members at the time of diagnosis also have a gallstone. Not a history of gallstones, but it would have been called an "incidental finding" of a gallstone. We have had 4 cases of amiodarone pulmonary toxicity, and they are completely devastating. I have found ONE common thread in our 4 patients and that was incidental finding of a gallstone, BUT, one pateint had her gallbladder out FIRST, before going into toxicity. Her doctors originally diagnosed her with pneumonia (as she had just had abdominal surgery), but we diagnosed her with amiodarone toxicity. My thoughts are if there is a sentinal sign, such as a gallstone, that shows up first, berfore the pulmonary symptoms, perhaps this devastating, rapid disorder can be halted. Any input anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

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  35. Your email is very intruiging. My father was in the hospital for 10 days diagnosed w/pneumonia and fibrosis. He has been on amiodarone for several years. Yes, they found gallstones and diverticulosis when running tests. They took him off the drug for now, suspecting this may be causing his problems. He was released a week and a half ago and at home on oxygen therapy. Quite upset that he may be need oxygen the rest of his life. March 16, 2009

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  36. PEOPLE DON'T BE FOOLED. Amiodarone starts destroying your organs immediately. My fiancee' took Amiodarone for a period of three months. He was on it 3 weeks when he went from no glasses to wearing trifocals. Within a few months he had liver failure and heart failure and was put on a liver and heart transplant list. He lost his sight, had neurological problems, tremors, couldn't eat or drink, couldn't walk his symptoms got progressily worse over a period of one year. Then his eyesight came back, he didn't need the liver or heart transplant because he organs improved and to everyone's suprise including his doctors he mericiously recovered and after being out of work one year went back to work. AND THEN IT ALL HIT AGAIN this time only worse. ALL HIS ORGANS EVENTUALLY FAILED and his heart stopped. All this took place in 15 months from the time he first took the medicine until the time of his death. PLEASE DO NOT LET LOVED ONES TAKE THIS MEDICATION. Jackie Babe Rest In Peace We Love and Miss You

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  37. I can't believe that I am reading all of these comments. I had no idea how many people are effected by this drug. My father died on April 12, 2009. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis after taking amiodarone for his Atrial Fib. He had a successesful triple bybass and heart valve repleacement (March 9, 2009 in Sarasota)and could not recover. He was sent to a rehab facility, but had to go back to the hospital (Venice) for pneumonia. He was almost immediatly taken off the amiodarone by a Pulmonoligist there. He was given 6 months to live on Wednesday, April 8th and died in hospice care on Sunday. We now believe that his Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was misdiagnosed and he had pulmonary fibrosis before the heart surgery. But regardless of this there was no monitoring of his lungs while taking this drug. We are still grieving and trying to come to terms with his death.

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  38. MY Uncle passed away march 27, 2009 had been on amidarone since 2002, had experienced weight loss s.o.b since 2007 md kept him on amidarone even though he had c/o symptoms and wanting to get off it, changed md's early 2008- 2nd took him off amidarone after 2008 xray showed severe fibrosis (2007 showed mild), also gave him a pulmonogist referral who stated severe fibrosis that would get worse, tried some steroids to slow progression of fibrosis. Did not help he had complained to 1st md multiple time of fatiue and weight loss always blown off. Severe fibrosis causes right sided heart failure ( lower ext. edema, short of breath, fatigue) heart cannot function properly w/damaged lungs as it has to overwork to try to get blood through the damaged lungs, thus causing heart failure) Miss him VERY MUCH. Very bad drug look for other options, don"t settle for easy

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  39. joan whalen--my husband died from amiodarone toxcityon march 26th 2009. he was in intensive care for most of the time in two different hospitals. he died a horrible death,we never heard of amiodarone toxcity until he was in the hospital 4 days after he was having trouble breathing. he could not eat,drink walk .He had multiple infections,naturally his heart failure got worse because he could not breate; he was put on life support,kidney failure and blood clots also. he had seizures and was dellusional. he also got pulmonary fibrosis was fatal. all this from being on this drug. He was on thia drug for 5 years with no sufficient monitoring. We are seeking legal action and we will get this horrible side effect out to all the unknowing patients that are on amiodarone.

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  40. joan whalen I have just read more of the previous comment posted on this web site. I am sorry for all the loses. I cannot believe that all these cases can go unrecognized by the medical community. As I said before with how my husband of 45 years of marriage suffered I can not just let this issue go. I will try my best to get the fatal effects out there to the public and the doctors who prescribe amiodarone must monitor their patients with lung functioning tests every 6 months. My husband was 67 years old and has left a broken hearted family.

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  41. My father died in 1989 from Amiodarone Toxicity. He suffered a heart attack on Feb. 14, 1989 which left him with an irregular heart rhythm. A pacemaker was inserted and Amiodarone was prescribed. Shortly after he began taking this drug, he started to feel unwell. He had no appetite, was weak and he complained of a metallic taste. I went with him to his cardiologist several times and the medicine was never mentioned as a possible cause. I consulted with the chief hospital pharmacist who did not mention any problem with this drug. By the middle of November he was so sick that he was admitted to the hospital for tests. He was too ill to undergo the lung biopsy. He finally died on December 1, 1989. He was so sick from this drug that it would probably have been better if the heart attack could have killed him in February as his quality of life was so poor. I am still so angry and sad that I lost my 68 year old father.

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  42. God Bless us All,

    My Dad passed away also. I was 40 years old when I found him and had a few years with him before this drug killed him! If, anyone has been compinsated for this let me know! Or, if you need paperwork or proof from the damages this drug has? Send me an E-Mail!

    Lroberts176@mchsi.com

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  43. This is really sad. I am an RT here in WA state. I will definately be on the lookout for these side effects. Good luck to all you you. Rich

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  44. You are not alone. That is what I thought when I found this page. My mother was prescribed amiodarone in March of 2002 for atrial fil., notified her doctor 2 mo. later that she was short of breath, was told to see him at her regular app't in 6 mo. 1 month later called again that she could not walk from chair to chair, she was told to discontinue med. Too late!! I watched her slowly deteriorate and then suffocate (drown?) until she finally passed away in Oct. of 2004 from pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. The FIRST cause of death listed on the death certificate was amiodarone toxicity causing the other two.

    This was unnecessary. She was 82 and active. Her heart doctor said it was "too bad" she was one of the few to get this. Would he feel that way if it was his mother? Thank goodness we had a wonderful pulmonologist to help us through this.

    We did contact a lawyer, but the costs for malpractice were too great. We did hear of a class action suit being filed by some lawyers in Atlanta, I believe, but when Mom died of course they wanted only living clients. My sister and I warn everyone we hear of having heart problems to stay away from this drug. My sympathies to all who have gone through this terrible experience.

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  45. My father died from this drug. That is my conclusion.

    Close to one year ago today (July 15, 2008) and today is July 5 2009.

    I need to find out if his cardiologist and his GP were requiring him to have regular xrays of his lungs. From conversations with him, the recommended quarterly xrays were not occurring.

    Needless to say, it caught us all by surprise when he was suddenly hospitalized last year at this time. He was an otherwise healthy 76 year old male and probably 4 pounds underweight according to the charts -- maybe 2 pounds underweight. He did not drink (not for 40 + years) or smoke (for at least 40 years).

    At any rate; please, please, warn your loved ones about this drug.

    I begged the attending physicians to 1) stop the antibiotics and 2) to give him steroids (after being told they had discontinued the amiodarone). I did my research on the internet, etc. and I knew what was wrong -- but they did NOT listen to me.

    Days passed while he was in the hospital before they administered steroids.

    My father died; not because his heart gave out (his cardiologist was proud of this fact). My father died because of the lung "toxicity" of amiodarone.

    I am interested in anyone else who has experienced the loss of someone close to them due to the effect of this drug.

    After reading stuff here and elsewhere, I feel energized regarding obtaining my father's medical records. I want to help others to avoid the folly that befell him and others.

    Please send links or other information to anothersurfer999@hotmail.com or reply here.

    If you have a loved one who has been prescribed this drug -- please -- at the least encourage him or her to have quarterly xrays of his or her lungs.

    I am still considering other avenues that would elevate the awareness of the HUGE toxicity of this drug.

    I can still hear and see my father's heartbeat -- long after the folks in the hospital stopped the amiodarone. He died from the bizarre effect of this drug on his lungs.

    Again, please please monitor you loved ones carefully.

    Another Surfer, still grieving.

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  46. Can't give up, not satisfied with what we all are going thru7/17/2009 2:04 PM

    My husband DIED from Amiodarone because he was given 400/mg twice a day starting the day after his 3 By-pass heart surgery AS A PREVENTIVE MEDICATION WHEN HE DID NOT EVEN HAVE ATRIAL FIBRILIATION. I can't get an atty. to take the case because the DEATH CERT. DID NOT SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT WAS THE CAUSE. It took me a year to find out a CAT SCAN OF THE LUNGS IS THE WAY YOU DIAGNOSIS AMIODARONE-INDUCED PULMONARY TOXICITY. So now the Dr. gets away with illegal use of the medicine and with LEGAL MURDER!!!
    Remember,all of you, MAKE the dr. get a CAT scan of the lungs.
    Look up http://clinicalcases.org/2004/02/amiodarone-induced-pulmonary-toxicity.html

    There is nobody out there to help any of us - WHY??


    Contact me at "tj36hughes@att.net"

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  47. My husband, Bob, age 79 died as a result of acute amiodarone toxicity on July 29, 2009...I have reviewed all of his hospital records and mentionis made of amiodarone toxicity...The amiodrone (1400mg over 7 days) was administered as part of the protocol for open heart surgery...Symptoms of amiodarone toxicity began two days after surgery with coughing up of blood and shortness of breath....Six days later after we confronted hospital staff about his declining health we were informed that he had an acute reaction to amiodarone....Needless to say the drug had infiltrated his lungs and other organs as well...My husband never smoked,followed a healthy life style (weighed 134 lbs.) and did not have afib....He spent 34 days in the hospital before succumbing to the drug's toxicity....almost 30 of them on a ventilator....He was never informed of the drug's lethal potential.

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  48. My husband was put on amiodarone 2 days ago. He was to be on a double dose for 8 doses and then just two tablets once daily. At the time, we did not know the extreme seriousness of this medication as to the possible deadly or permanently damaging side effects. I decided to look it up to get more in-depth information than what we had been told. Need I say more?! Before he stopped it, he had taken 2000 Mg due to double-up strength that was to be for the first 8 doses.(Two 200MG tabs twice daily) What we are worried about is that even though he has stopped, could what he has already taken effect him dangerously or DID WE CATCH IT IN TIME? The nurse we talked to this morning said he would not be effected, but there didn't seem to be much "gump" in her tone or words. He did have loose bowels this morning which is not normal and not attributed to anything he ate last evening, and, one of the side effects we read about. Makes us wonder about any others that may come? Does anyone know the answer? If not today, can the amount he took still show up sometime later as this medication seems to do? Thank you so much in advance to anyone who can give us an answer. With the condition he has, he is able to live without this medication and look for other options.

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  49. The best place to ask for an answer is your doctor's office rather than on websites, blogs and internet forums.

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  50. In response to the response from...
    "Anonymous said... The best place to ask for an answer is your doctor's office rather than on websites, blogs and internet forums."
    I agree that your doctor, being the General in the line of defense against any serious disease, is the one to go to for answers. They have spent many many years educating themselves on subjects most of their patients have only read a paragraph or sentence about, if at all. The internet is a wonderful place to gain information, but you are correct in indicating that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I think this quote by Daniel Boorstin holds true here..."The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge"
    Trusting your physician to guide you to the right path of treatment is the smart thing to do.
    Here is where the problem lies though...
    When a medicine as serious as Amiodarone is suggested/prescribed, your doctor should go INTO DEPTH to explain to you not only the possible benefits, but the possible dangers of it. Especially for someone like my husband who has a history of two bouts of serious pneumonia and smoking. After gaining our dangerous internet knowledge, we think that a lung x-ray before beginning treatment would have been the proper thing to do, especially in this case.
    I think our panic was well deserved here.
    A patient should always be well informed by their doctor as to what they are putting into their body, but many doctors just prescribe without volunteering much information, if any, most patients don't ask for more information, and nobody wants to read the attached information that comes with most drugs because it always scares you. If you do read it, (as we did), a call to your doctor's office usually follows the next day. That discussion should have happened before the medication was prescribed, initiated by your doctor.
    Trust is a good thing to give to your doctor, but should not be given blindly, and,...it is also a patient's responsibility to ask questions. It takes at least two to make a team and with any serious illness the strength of a team is needed to fight it.

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  51. My grandma passed away from Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity in December 2008 at 64 years old. Her story is exactly like everyone elses I've read. Flu like symptoms...ER....diagnosed with pnuemonia....ICU..Ventilator. She was on Amiodarone for only 2 months before falling ill. She lost a lot of weight as well and the last days of her life were miserable. She had a number of infections, unstable blood sugar, and failing kidney function throughout her stay in ICU. It was very difficult to see her on a ventilator and know that she was never going ot come home. We had never heard of Amiodarone and were not aware of the risks prior to her illness. I wish we would have been educated about possble risks and side effects by the cardiologist. I hope that the makers of Amiodarone will be held accountable for the effects of their drug and other alternatives will become available.

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  52. I was on this website a while ago, i and my family are still dealing with the grief of loss of my husband about 9 months ago. i regret to say that the lawyer I retained informed me that the case was too compicated and they were not sure they would win, so there goes that.wewillcontact some other legal means but if not we will try reaching tv personalities with our story to get public awareness out there. we also allcould file a class action suit. please respond if you are with us.

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  53. everyone on this we site, please contact the FDA. ask for KARA at FDA301=796=4754 and tell your story, she will send you a form to fill out; good luck.

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  54. Another sad story to add to these here. First my heart goes out to all of you. Our 82 yr old father was put on Cordarone on Jan 5, 2010 for a "minor arrhythmia" that was detected while he was hospitalized for a bronchial flare up. The cardiologist administered a loading dose (amt?) for the first week, then reduced to 200 mg/twice daily. He was released to rehab for P/T with no follow up, no instructions to monitor.

    He complained to the rehab doctors (a wholly new crew of docs) of shortness of breath and struggled with his P/T for two weeks before landing in the ER on Jan 29, 2010 with 'extreme' shortness of breath and low oxygen levels. He was sent back to his original hospital, where another cardiologist took him off Cordarone as a preventative---still vigorously denying that he could be having lung toxicity this "soon" from Cordarone---and put him on Multaq. We sat on our hands all weekend (he checked in late Fri night) while on-call pulmonologist et al talked about mesothelioma, ARDS, whatever. No one would listen to me howling about amiodarone, but I had done my research at this point and was nearly sure this was the problem. How else could a man's lungs worsen with constant respiratory treatment over such a short time?

    CT scans done of his lungs on Feb 1 and compared to his Jan 3 CT scans were frightening. His Jan 3 lungs looked like "Miami, partly cloudy" and his Feb 1 looked like "Bismark, ND, white-out blizzard." Still, his pulmonologist would not concede that amiodarone was the culprit, but he put him into ICU and onto a Bi-Papp machine, started steroid doses and a diuretic in case it was congestive heart failure! Heart tests over the entire 5 wk episode showed his heart strong, and the day he was off amiodarone before he was put on Multaq, his arrhythmia quickly corrected itself when it occurred once. Diuretics were discont'd the second day in ICU. The night of the 3rd day, he ripped off his Bi-Papp mask in the night and was intubated when his stats fell and the Bi-Papp could not deliver sufficient oxygen. The 4th morning, as he lay there intubated, his primary care finally said the pattern of inflammation/infiltrates/whatever on his chest xrays was "consistent with amiodarone toxicity," and that if we could support his lungs long enough, he might pull thru. His pulmonologist stuck to the company line of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is like saying FILL IN THE BLANK, apparently a catch-all phrase for unknown cause of lung problems). On the evening of the 4th day in ICU, he had a metabolic incident (wrong PH levels in the blood) and his stats plummeted and he was brought back once, but not the second time a few hours later. He died on Feb 4, 2010, one month after being given Cordarone.

    It does not take years, or even months, for amiodarone to kill people. His primary care put on the death certificate that the primary cause of death was COPD, which is absurd. No one had even described his bronchitis as COPD before this hospitalization. But he did add amiodarone toxicity as a secondary or contributing cause.

    No one seems to know anything about a class action lawsuit, and I am leery of filling out these online "case evaluations" with the dot com lawyers. I have left a message with this Kara at the FDA number Joan Whalen provides above. I have filed an FDA Medwatch incident report online, filed an online complaint against the prescribing cardiologist with the Texas Medical Board, filed wtih the Texasd Dept of Health Services a complaint against the rehab and it's medical team who failed to recognize serious symptoms of lung toxicity for two weeks, and I will write letters to his PCP, pulmonologist and others. But I feel like I am writing in the sand on the beach. What will come of it?

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  55. 4red i am sorry for your loss o f your father. i am hopeful with your contacting the fda. We are talking to another lawyer next week and my daughter is contacting political,medical and media forums with our story to get public attention to the proper monitoring and public knowledge of the dangerous side effects of amiodarone.

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  56. to all on this website please contact medwatch from the FDA www.fda.gov/medwatch and tell your story. My letter from the FDA stated 1 or 2 well documented case reports may provide an early signal of unexpected problems and lead to additional evaluation of amiodarone.

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  57. Somewhat of a follow-up:

    My father's death certificate does not state Amiodarone toxicity as the cause of his death. Had I been in a better frame of mind, I would have insisted on this.

    My heart goes out to all of you.

    However, I believe his case history could be used as evidence to prove that Amiodarone is highly toxic and can be ultimately fatal.

    I am concerned with regard to people being informed regarding Aniodaron toxicity. If there is a case being brought or if there is an organized movemnent to bring this to the attention of the public, please let me know.

    I believe that drug companies and health professionals on the whole are only trying to help. But -- after all the research I have done, it appears that this message is not reaching the general public. I recently heard from someone reading this blog that the doctors in his/her relative's case are not really listening and not making obvious connections based on the research -- the actual WARNINGS by the companies who manufacture and sell this drug -- and anecdotal information available to anyone who seraches the internet regarding Amiodarone.

    Symptoms to watch: Loss of appetite and weight, shortness of breath, dry cough, kidney disfunction, dehydration, night sweats, light to drastic bleeding from nose, tiredness and muscle weakness. All of these were present in my father's case.

    I cannot stress this enough; regular imaging of lungs is paramount. And had my father's cardiologist paid attention to this advice and heeded the pulmonary and other dangers of Amiodarone, my father might be alive today.

    I miss him so.

    Another Surfer

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  58. I am so scared after reading these posts. My 64 yr old brother has been diagnost with ammiodarone toxicity. It has affected all of his organs. He too had all the syptoms discribed and under the care of a cardiologist and general dr. He has complained of shortness of breath, tired, loss of appetite, weight loss, discoloration of skin, but neither dr. listen until he was admitted to the ER unable to breath. Three weeks ago they put him on steroids. He was home for a week on oxygen, and was then so week he could not walk more than a few feet, needless to say he was readmitted. It has hurt his kidneys, lungs and liver. I am so scared of what tomorrow will bring, because the drug stays in the body so long. No monitoring were done on his lungs or liver. he was not warned of the side effects. WHY??? you put trust, in the Drs. and they ignore the symptoms he was having. I so love my brother, he is the sweetest nicest man. A great father and grandfather. A much loved husband. I am so angry and scared right now. This didn't have to happen! These Drs. have to be more aware of the side effects and monitor them closely.

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  59. I am 76 yrs old and was hospitalized for Atrial fib in Sept 09. A severe case requiring ambulance and intensive care for a day or two. I recovered fairly quickly and was put on amioderone 3 tabs daily was then reduced to one tab daily. I am due to be tested for any complications later this month. I think after reading these posts I shall call my cardiolocist tomorrow and try to get off of it, I have had some trouble with vision lately but overlooked it. I was a nurse for 40years but the doc said there could be side effects and would need to be checked out. Our phamacist told me it can cause severe thyroid problems but is prescribed for many many people. ( A money maker no doubt)
    Thank you for your comments and I am sorry for the sadness you have endured. I think I shall try to get off of it after a talk with the doc. I have always been very healthy and hope to stay that way for some time. GOD bless my email is Milhamox@century link .com

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  60. My brother was also diagnosed with Amiodarone Pulmonary Toxicity when he was 47 after being given the drug for Atrial Fibrillation which they ultimately corrected with a mild shock to the heart (defibrillation). Fixed the heart problem easily and then killed him with the drug. He has beaten most of the odds by being fairly stable for the last 5 yrs. However he is now in a free fall and it looks like the disease has finally decided to move. I fear it will only be a short time now and this is not going to be pretty. My only advise to people…don’t ever trust anyone with your health care but yourself. Don’t trust doctors…even good ones. Don’t ever let them give you ANY medication that you or a family member doesn’t immediately go on-line to research. And if you don’t like the information you see, talk to your doctor. If your doctor won’t listen…FIRE him and find another. Doctors have now played a part in the death of my father, mother and soon I am afraid, my brother as well. And always look and ask for medications that have been in use for decades. Always be suspicious of new drugs, ask if a drug you are being given is off-label and been tested for the use it is being given and for how long. Look it up on the internet. Immediately. And if you think the risks of the side effects are too high…stop taking the drug. Talk to your doctor about alternatives and again…if they won’t listen to you – find another doctor. God bless all of you and for any of you on this post that are on this drug…GET OFF OF IT.

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  61. My ex husband died of Amiodarone lung toxicity in September 2009.
    He was just 62 years of age. Fortunately an autopsy was done and this has been listed as the official cause of death. The scary thing about this was that he was in hospital for only 3 days where they administered the Amiodarone.
    24 hours after he left the hospital he was dead!!

    The family have requested the hospital medical records to determine if any other drugs were administered before he was given the Amiodarone. According to the information I have been able to find out, Amiodarone should only be used in the most life threatening circumstances, and other drugs should be tried before hand. It is supposed to be a drug of LAST RESORT. This is because of the terrible, life threatening side effects.
    My ex-husband had serious lung issues before he was admitted to hospital and this drug should never have been given to him.
    I have been in contact with the Coroners Office and received the news this week that the Medical Examiner has requested a POLICE investigation into my ex husbands death, which could take many months. We are hoping that the findings of the police will result in a formal inquest been ordered. Although this could take another 1 to 3 years we are determined that the Hospital be held accountable for their negligence.

    While Amiodarone killed by ex husband it was the doctors who are at fault as it should never have been given to him. Reading all the other sad stories here it seems that mostly the doctors are at fault.
    I am more than willing to share information regarding the outcome of the police investigation and an inquest if we can have one done. I will post this with my contact details when I have the information,

    My heart goes out to you all.

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  62. I believe Amidarone caused me to have severe nerve damage in my legs. I can barely maintain my balance and have great difficulty walking. I was on a daily dosage of 200mg for Atrial Fibrilation for 18 months and then on my own decreased the dosage to 100mg per day. The drug was prescribed for me by a cardiologist who soon afterwards transferred to another location. I finally took myself off of the drug and haven't taken it since late 2006. I am 77 years old and now take sotolol for A Fib. Does anyone know of Amiodarone causing nerve damage?
    Ralph in Destin Florida

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  63. Ralph (and others), look on Facebook for the group entitled "Amiodorone-Induced Toxicity Alert". It's an information site that is for anyone who needs the support of others whose lives have also been forever changed due to the effects amiodorone has had on them or those they love(d).

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  64. Ireland
    A 72 year old family member spent 2 years on 100 to 200 mg of amiodarone. It was increased to 400 for 7 days after a test proved his heart was normal! Two weeks later he developed jaundice. During treatment a tiny (doctor,s words) tumour of small cell carcinoma was found in lymph node surrounding bile duct. Doctors said primary source was probably in the lung bu no tests were done to establish this. He developed renal failure, this lasted three weeks, he developed pneumonia, this lasted three days. he died four weeks after jaundice incident. Death cert states small cell carcinoma as primary cause of death even though it had not spread and was so insignificant at the time that Doctors did not even speak to the family about prognosis, etc. Jaundice, renal failure and pneumonia are side effects of amiodarone.

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  65. after two hours on amiodarone iv my husband experienced vision problems and was blind in two days. there are many alternatives to this awful drug. the doctors themsselves don't know the side effects but continue to use it.

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  66. I had a heart bypass surgery & at that time Amiodarone was prescribed by my cardiologist/internist for some arrhythmia that I experienced post-op. After my heart surgery, I had numerous hospitalizations related to pneumonias, pleural effusion (filling up with fluids in lung lining) & at one point I had a pulmonary draw & over a liter of bloody fluid was removed from my lung. No one mentioned that the lung trouble could be caused by the med. I had much shortness of breath & still experience that problem & a dry cough. The arrhythmia kept recurring a side effect of the med – the exact symptom it is supposed to cure it causes. I was hospitalized for cardioversion (electro-shock to reset heart rhythms. I had taken this drug until May 17, 2010 when I called the cardiologist’s nurse & told her that I was experiencing many side effects which I believed to be caused by the med. With our last refill of Amiodarone the pharmacy gave us a very explicit warning sheet re this med which we never saw before in all the time we had taken it. I told the nurse I was going off this med & also Coumadin. I now take magnesium 2x per day with one .325 aspirin & this has taken care of the arrhythmia. I have other side effects including shortness of breath, tremor in one hand, muscle weakness in hands & upper thighs, trouble getting up out of a chair, trouble walking, shuffling step & I must use a cane for my balance. I experience much numbness & tingling (like pins & needles off & on) in hands & legs. I have a dark blue/gray discoloration on the back of my left hand & also my right; this does not go away; it is tender to the touch. I am also bruising easily. I I have experienced sleep disturbances, much fatigue, more headaches, irritability, depression, confusion & very chilled (I wear a jacket in the house). I was recently operated on for colon cancer & had one foot of the colon & 12 lymph nodes removed (2 nodes were affected with cancer); I am undergoing chemo at this time. My wife and I spoke with a medical research doctor in California & asked if Amiodarone could have caused my colon cancer since this drug can cause low blood count & intestinal bleeding. He said it can cause cancer as it does deplete the immune system; there is no family history of this disease in my family. After the cancer surgery operation, I had some A-fib & the Dr. put me on another drug Dronedarone & said that it was a milder drug. I was on it for a couple days in the hospital and we noticed that I was again developing a skin rash, itching and also bleeding through the skin on my back. I again developed painful prickling (pins and needles, muscle pain very sensitive to the touch on my arms, hands and legs, cough, raspy voice, much shortness of breath just like what I had experienced with the Amiodarone in the past). Prior to the surgery I had been taken off the magnesium and I subsequently went into atrial fibrillation after surgery probably caused by the presence of the half life Amiodarone still in my system along with the addition of the Dronedarone, an equally toxic drug (the Rath Research Foundation wrote up this med as a very dangerous drug as well; it has caused many deaths). I went back to magnesium & an aspirin; my subsequent EKG showed no arrythmia.
    When I had outpatient surgery to put in the Chemo Port, the surgical nurse told us that her father died from taking Amiodarone. The doctors would not address his condition relating to the drug; they attributed the death to pneumonia. We are now thinking much illness can be created by dangerous meds. We learned that Amiodarone has a half life which means that it continues to stay in one’s body for a long time after stopping the med. This drug affects all of the body’s major systems – it should not be on the market. We found Amiodarone to be on an FDA watch on the internet. I continue to suffer its dire effects daily.

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  67. I too lost a loved one to Amiodarone, my father.
    Recently, I started a website to help people exchange information in regards to this awful drug.
    Please visit and comment: www.amiodaronetoxicity.com
    Currently, under Amiodarone News I have several good articles regarding legal cases and how drugs are used 'off label' in this country.

    Also there's a FaceBook group 'Stop Amiodarone'.
    (You'll find a link at the website. You don't have to be a member to read the comments under "wall" tab.)
    There are so many people that have suffered because of this drug.
    We need to come together and figure out how to stop this so that another family does not
    have to go through this.
    Susan

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  68. Kelley Hannah10/21/2010 11:46 AM

    I've just been put on this and haven't taken the first pill as of yet. I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibulation - mild-and put on Sotalol at 120 mgs a day-ankles and legs swelled up horribly. Doctor put me on 80mgs once a day and no reactions to this at all. Unfortunately the shortness of breathe while working distances was getting worse so he switched to Amiodarone. 200 mgs 3 x's a day for 3 weeks and then one tablet once a day. After reading all of these posts, I will not subject myself to this. There must be a better way. I like my doctor very much and do trust him. But he seemed to put me on this very quickly. Thanks to all of you. You may have saved a life.

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  69. Our 85 year old mother was recently put on amiodarone 200 mg. for one month for atrial fibrillation. After about 8 days she became so weak she could not get out of bed, and when she talked, it sounded like her diaphragm was not functioning correctly. An Xray showed some pulmonary effusion with which the docs were not concerned. After reading the above posts, we told our mother to stop the amiodarone immediately. She gradually improved in about a week, and 2 weeks out she is showing no symptoms. We are so glad that we found this website, and appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. We are also very sorry for the tragedies resulting from this very dangerous drug. By sharing your stories, you may have saved another life. Though because of the half-life, our mom may still be in some danger. By the way, the docs now want her to start a newer drug Multaq, which is in the same family as amiodarone, but supposedly has less side effects. We've told mom to not take it!

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  70. My mom took amiodarone for 37 days after a quadruple bypass.I do not know the initial dose she was given IV. She took 400mg per day and after a week and developed a dry cough. I read about the toxicity of this drug and I insisted to be taken off this medication. She had chest xrays and pulmonary function tests and seems that she has amino lung toxicity. She was given this medication without trying first other options and without be informed about the side effects. My opinion is that this dangerous drug should not be given to older patients. We will see a lung dr next week to see what is going on.
    Do not take this drug without first trying ALL other options that you have. If you dr minimizes the efects of this drug, go for a second opinion. All my moms' drs told me that is too early to develop lung toxicity. Well, as you see, was not too early! i found an interesting web page - seems that after a while the lungs might look better is the toxicity is at an early stage.

    http://www.anaesthetist.com/icu/manage/drugs/heart/Findex.htm#amiodarone.htm

    Keep posting on web , we need to inform more people.
    Ana

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  71. My father died October 17, 2011 from pulomonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. The official cause of death is listed as Amioderone toxicity. He lived seven years from the time of the initial diagnosis. The last year was the worst with his being on oxygen 24/7 with ever-increasing levels. He couldn't go anywhere, and then he started collapsing. He finally went to the ICU and then to the nursing home where he died two days later. He was a brilliant and amazing man. I may send a copy of his obituary and his death cetificate to the pharmaceutical company, although they probably would not care as I'm sure they make a lot of money on this drug.

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  72. My significant other died on January 20, 2012 from Amiodarone-induced Pulmonary Fibrosis. He had Triple Bypass surgery in July, 2011, developed atrial fibrillation on post-op day 3, was place on intravenous and then oral amiodarone, successfully cardioverted on post-op day 6 and discharged on post-op day 8 in normal sinus rhythm. He was on amiodarone, 400mg daily for about 6 weeks, prescibed by the cardiologists. He stopped the drug at the end of August, 2011. At that time he was only taking metoprolol, lipitor, aspirin, and multivitamins. He then developed bronchitis in mi-October, 2011 which precipitated another episode of atrila fibrillation and was placed back on amiodarone, 400 mg daily, with no result. He then developed a progressive cough, was on four different courses of antibiotics and oral steroids from his primary care physician, and had visits to his cardiac surgeon and cardiologists, all of who were aware of this unexplained cough, which was unresponsive to the medications. He was successfully cardioveted again in mid-December, and had this cough on the day of the cardioversion. By New Years' Eve, the cough was so severe and the episodes lasted for hours. He was admitted to the hospital on January 3, 2012, and was on CPAP/BiPAP, but his oxygen saturations would plummet to 60 even when the oxygen was removed for 30 seconds to take oral medications. He was intubated and placed on a ventilator four days after admission, with no recovery. The decision was made to terminate life support on January 20, 2012. He was the absolute love of my life for the one year-plus that we had our relationship. He was devoted to supporting our military troops all over the world and raising awareness that "you don't have to support a war to support our troops." He was a Vietnam War veteran and proud of his military and other extraordinary life accomplishments.

    The history of how amiodarone came into use in the United States is puzzling, especially since our FDA is supposed to be the watchdog and approve and monitor clinical trials. "The Strange History of Amiodarone," by Richard N Fogoros, M.D. should be required reading by all physicians. In conclusion, I quote from the article:

    The strange history of amiodarone may explain why some doctors who prescribe this drug seem unaware of the breadth and the subtle nature of many of its side effects -- and why some of them do not adequately monitor their patients who take amiodarone, or fully inform their patients as to what to watch out for. Everyone taking prescription drugs ought to make themselves aware of possible side effects so they can help their doctors recognize when those side effects may be occurring. This general rule is doubly true for amiodarone.

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  73. our 76 yr old mother was started on Amiodarone in Jan 2012, no health issues besides Atrial Fib. April 3,2012 she complained of possible flu, called her primary M.D. which called her in antibiotics without even seeing her. she was admitted to the ER with shortness of breath to the point she could not even talk. never smoked in her life. o2 sat. were barely 70% with oxygen on. after ruling out pneumonia, her dr. reviewed her meds that the cardiologist had her on and discovered the Amiodarone on her med list. she progressively got worse, ET tube placement on the vent. she continued to be starved for oxygen, chest tubes placed but were unable to reinflate the lung due to the damage to the lung tissue. the day she died (3 weeks later) she had surgery to place a trache, feeding tube, central line and more chest tubes. but she died 8 hours later with o2 sats in the 70s. I am an R.N. and have never seen anyone suffer so much from a drug that they should have never been put on in the first place. no follow up was ever done by her cardiologist for this deadly drug. my oldest bro. was with her and not a word from the dr. or pharmacist about the deadly risk from this medication. why is it still being used?

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  74. My husband has been in the hospital now for over 3 months. He was given Amiodarone, we do not know who gave it to him, or why, they will not answer any of our questions.We have asked to see an Advocate,and within a few days she got in touch with us, we told her why we needed to see her, she said she would get in touch in a few days. That was over a month ago.Nothing. My husband was one of the lucky ones, he made it out of I.C.U. and C.C.U. and is now on a medical ward. He is now off oxygen, but is very short of breath and not very strong. He has lost the use of his left leg, and has no control over his bowels. He has spent the last 3 months on his back, so he has bed sores. He cannot get out of bed.
    My husband is 75 years old, and up to 3 months ago enjoyed as many games of golf he could manage to play while doing 2 part time jobs. I do have copies {5 discs full} of all diagnostic imaging that was done. We are still waiting for answers.What else can I do.

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    1. Update..... My husband is home now, confined to a wheel chair and has oxygen all the time, 24....7..I still have no answers to any questions. I will be writing to the C.E.O. of the hospital, and sending a copy of the letter to my local M.P..If I do not get any answers from them I will go to the local paper....I'm very angry at the way my Family and I have been treated.

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  75. Amiodarone should be given at an initial oral dose of 100mg daily and then taken off after two weeks if the rhythm comes back to normal.The next should be 200mg daily for one week .The drug should not be given more than 6 weeks as it causes more damage than the good effect.It is better to go for surgery than to be on Amiodarone and succumb to its fatal side effects.

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  76. My mum died of amiodorone - lungs, digestion, and blood platelets - lungs got better digestion and swallowing recovered but bleed to death internally - doctors dismissed my concerns that it was the amiodorone

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