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Factors that affect sotalol dosage include the nature of the cardiac arrhythmia that is present, as well as the patient's age, kidney function, and other medical conditions. Other factors affecting sotalol dosage include height and weight, if the medication is being administered to children, other medications being taken and how the individual responds to medication. Prior to beginning treatment with sotalol, a blood test to measure kidney function should be done to determine the proper medication dosage.
The typical adult dosage for sotalol is between 240 and 320 mg daily. This medication dosage is often preferred for those with ventricular arrhythmias, and the adult dosage for those with atrial fibrillation is generally between 80 and 160 mg per day. Once sotalol therapy begins, cardiac function must be monitored for a few days until the patient has reached his steady dose. Normally, the patient stays in the hospital during this time and is assessed with an electrocardiogram.
Sotalol is in a category of drugs called beta blockers. These cardiac medications regulate the heart rate and lower blood pressure. An arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, can cause palpitations, heart flutters, and chest pain. In can also cause chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Complications can arise from a cardiac arrhythmia, including the risk of blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and heart attack.
It is important that the correct sotalol dosage be administered, because a dose that is too low or too high may fail to control the heart rate and rhythm. Sotalol and other beta blockers can cause side effects and if these side effects become severe, the dosage may need to be decreased. If decreasing the dosage does not reduce side effects, another beta blocker may be recommended.
The normal prescription dosage of sotalol can produce side effects. They include lightheadedness, dizziness, rapid heart beat, and fainting. In addition, sotalol can cause a slow heart rate or even an allergic reaction characterized by hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or wheezing. Severe reactions mandate emergency medical evaluation and treatment.
A sotalol dosage should never be adjusted by the patient himself, nor should he ever abruptly stop taking sotalol. Doing so may result in a heart attack or serious cardiac arrhythmia. The medication can, however, be discontinued slowly by gradually reducing the medication dosage over an extended period of time. Rarely, a patient will experience chest pain when stopping treatment, and if this occurs, the healthcare provider or emergency medical services needs to be notified.
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