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Answers to some common questions about atrial fibrillation (AFib) and MULTAQ

AFib and MULTAQ

What is an arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is when the heart beats either too quickly, too slowly, and/or irregularly. If the heart is beating irregularly, it is said to be beating "out of normal sinus rhythm Audio Icon " .

What does "normal sinus rhythm" mean?

"Normal sinus rhythm" is what doctors call a normal heartbeat. A normal heartbeat has a regular rhythm and it sounds and feels a certain way. Doctors sometimes refer to it as a repeated "lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub." The speed, or rate, of the heartbeats can change, but the rhythm—the constant "lub-dub" sound—should always be the same. When the heart beats like this, it is said to be in normal sinus rhythm normal sinus rhythm Audio Icon .

Is atrial fibrillation (AFib) common?

AFib is not that common. However, it affects more and more people each year. And the older a person gets the greater their chances are for getting it. Learn more about those affected by AFib here.

Will I always feel atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

AFib episodes are different for everyone. The same person can sometimes feel that their heart is out of rhythm Audio Icon , and other times not. Learn more about AFib symptoms.

MULTAQ can help you have more days in normal sinus rhythm, but MULTAQ has not been shown to treat these symptoms.

How do I know if I have AFib?

Your doctor can tell if you have AFib. To do this, your doctor may need your medical history. You may also be told you need a complete physical examination, and a test called an electrocardiogram (EKG) Audio Icon , which records the heart's electrical activity. Learn more about this test here.

Can atrial fibrillation (AFib) cause a stroke?

People with AFib are more likely to have a stroke. A heart with AFib doesn't work properly. When the heart doesn't beat in a normal rhythm, blood can be left behind and collect inside the heart. This can turn into a clot. If the clot then travels out of the heart, it can block a blood vessel leading to the brain, causing a stroke. MULTAQ is not approved to reduce the risk of stroke. See the Important Safety Information to learn more.

Taking MULTAQ as prescribed

How long will I need to treat my AFib?

AFib treatment is ongoing. AFib is a chronic disease, meaning it doesn't go away. Treatment can help reduce the risks that go along with it, but will not cure the disease.

Benefits of MULTAQ

What are the benefits of MULTAQ?

MULTAQ can lower the chance that AFib will put you in the hospital. MULTAQ also helps keep your heart beating in a normal rhythm. It is meant for people who have had AFib in the past but are now in normal sinus rhythm. To learn more, please see the Important Safety Information to the right of this page.

How long does MULTAQ take to work?

In a large study among people with a history of AFib or AFlutter, people taking MULTAQ had fewer hospitalizations for AFib. Here's how the study worked:

  • People who took part in the study had an abnormal heart rhythm in the previous 6 months. They may have returned to a regular heart rhythm or were going to have medical treatment to return to a regular rhythm.
  • They were treated for up to 30 months, with an average of 22 months.

A reduction in hospitalizations was seen early in treatment and continued when people stayed on MULTAQ.

When to call your doctor

When taking MULTAQ, are there any times I should call my doctor right away?

Call your doctor immediately if you're taking MULTAQ and have any signs and symptoms of heart failure:

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing while resting
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, or coughing up frothy sputum at rest, at night or after minor exercise
  • Trouble sleeping or waking up at night due to breathing problems
  • Using more pillows to prop yourself up at night so you can breathe more easily
  • Gaining more than 5 pounds quickly
  • Increased swelling of feet or legs

Call your doctor immediately if you are taking MULTAQ and develop any of these signs and symptoms of liver problems:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
  • Fever
  • Feeling unwell
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Itching
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Unusual darkening of the urine
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper-right side of your stomach

What do I do if I notice that my pulse is irregular while I'm taking MULTAQ?

Call your doctor right away. Having an irregular pulse is a sign that you are in atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Side effects with MULTAQ

Will I experience any side effects with MULTAQ?

MULTAQ may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Severe heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Slowed heartbeat

The most common side effects you may experience while taking MULTAQ include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach-area pain
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Skin problems like redness, rash, and itching

Tell your doctor immediately about any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.

Will I still have atrial fibrillation (AFib) episodes even while I'm taking MULTAQ?

Even during treatment, you may still have AFib episodes. This doesn't mean MULTAQ isn't working. MULTAQ can help your heart keep beat in normal rhythm. It also reduces the risk that AFib will put you in the hospital. However, AFib is a chronic disease and can't be cured.

Call your doctor right away if you notice that your pulse is irregular, or if you experience symptoms that concern you. Your doctor will monitor your heart rhythm regularly to make sure that your heartbeat keeps a normal rhythm.

I haven't felt any AFib symptoms in a while. Does this mean I can stop taking MULTAQ?

After starting on MULTAQ, you may find that you're experiencing fewer AFib episodes. But even if you've been better for a long time, this doesn't mean your AFib is gone. You should keep taking MULTAQ as prescribed. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a chronic disease that never goes away.

Is it OK to take MULTAQ with my other medications?

Before you take MULTAQ, be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications or herbal supplements that you are taking. MULTAQ can interact with certain medications and cause serious side effects.

Please see Important Safety Information for a list of known drug interactions.

What should I know about pregnancy and taking MULTAQ?

Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if MULTAQ will harm your unborn baby. Women who may become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) while taking MULTAQ. Talk to your doctor about the best birth control methods for you.

Can I take MULTAQ while breastfeeding?

It is not known if MULTAQ passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take MULTAQ or breastfeed. You should not do both.

How often should I take MULTAQ?

Take MULTAQ exactly as your doctor tells you. The recommended dose is 1 tablet, two times a day with food (1 tablet with breakfast and 1 with your evening meal). Taking MULTAQ without food may not provide an effective dose. Always take MULTAQ with a meal – ideally with a full breakfast (e.g. a banana, oatmeal and eggs) and a full dinner (e.g. meat and vegetables). Please note: you should not drink grapefruit juice while taking MULTAQ. Drinking grapefruit juice can increase the likelihood that you will have a side effect of MULTAQ.

I forgot to take my MULTAQ today. What should I do?

If you miss a dose, continue to take MULTAQ as prescribed. Don't try to “double up” your dosage to make up for a missed one. Just wait and take your next dose at your regular time. If you're having trouble remembering to take MULTAQ as prescribed, be sure to speak with your doctor.

I accidentally took too much MULTAQ. What should I do?

If you take too much MULTAQ, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away. Taking too much MULTAQ can be dangerous. You may need urgent medical care. If you're having trouble taking MULTAQ as prescribed, be sure to speak with your doctor.

Besides taking medicine, what else can I do to help manage my atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

A treatment plan that includes MULTAQ can make a critical difference in your health. But there are things you can do to help control your atrial fibrillation (AFib). Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and stress can play a role in triggering AFib episodes. Avoiding these may help. Learn more about managing AFib stress here.

Financial aid for MULTAQ

How much money will treating my atrial fibrillation (AFib) cost me?

Talk to your doctor about costs, insurance coverage, and assistance programs available to you. Learn about financial resources for people with AFib here.

Is there a way for me to save on my MULTAQ prescriptions?

Yes. If you are an eligible patient who qualifies for a MULTAQ Savings Card, you won’t pay any more than $20 for your MULTAQ prescription for 1 full year. To sign up for your card, click here.

Can I get free information and support from MULTAQ?

Absolutely. MULTAQ Matters™ is an ongoing program of savings and support that offers you timely emails, healthy tips, a useful Reminder Tool, and more. Sign up here.

Or $30 off for cash payments.
  Qualifying patients are eligible for a maximum of 12 benefits. Depending on your out-of-pocket costs the benefit may vary. Card carries a maximum benefit of $75 per prescription for up to 12 prescriptions (maximum $900) for the duration of the program. Sanofi-aventis U.S. reserves the right to rescind, revoke, or amend this offer without notice. Certain restrictions apply. See details on savings card.

Important Safety Information for MULTAQ (dronedarone)

What is the most important safety information I should know about MULTAQ?
Do not take MULTAQ if you have symptoms of heart failure that recently worsened and you were hospitalized, or if you have severe heart failure. MULTAQ doubles your risk of dying if you have these conditions.

Do not take MULTAQ if you have a type of atrial fibrillation (AFib) called permanent AFib. You should not take MULTAQ if you are in AFib and your doctor is not planning to change you back into normal rhythm. People with permanent AFib who take MULTAQ have a higher risk of death, stroke, and needing to be treated in a hospital for heart failure.

MULTAQ may cause liver problems, including life-threatening liver failure. Call your doctor right away if you are taking MULTAQ and develop any of these signs and symptoms of liver problems: loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting; fever; feeling unwell; unusual tiredness; itching; yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes; unusual darkening of the urine; right upper stomach area pain or discomfort.

When should I call the doctor?
Call your doctor right away if you're taking MULTAQ and have any signs and symptoms of heart failure. These may include shortness of breath or wheezing at rest; wheezing, chest tightness, or coughing up frothy sputum at rest, nighttime, or after minor exercise; trouble sleeping or waking up at night or using more pillows to prop yourself at night because of breathing problems; weight gain; or foot or leg swelling.

Call your doctor right away if you notice that your heartbeat or pulse is irregular. This is a sign that you are in AFib.

Call your doctor if you develop shortness of breath or a dry cough during treatment with MULTAQ.

Call your doctor if you experience an allergic reaction, such as itchy rash, low blood pressure, or rapid swelling of the throat or skin, especially around the lips or eyes.

Who else shouldn't take MULTAQ?
You should not take MULTAQ if you are allergic to dronedarone or any of the other ingredients in MULTAQ.

You should not take MULTAQ if you have severe liver problems or if you had liver or lung problems after using amiodarone.

You should not take MULTAQ if you have a certain type of heart problem called heart block, and you do not have an implanted pacemaker.

You should not take MULTAQ if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant as it is not known if it may pass to or harm your baby. Women who may become pregnant should use effective birth control while taking MULTAQ. Talk to your doctor about the best birth control methods for you.

Are there any medications I should avoid while taking MULTAQ?
MULTAQ can interact with certain medications. Do not use the following medications with MULTAQ:

  • Nefazodone
  • Voriconazole
  • Ritonavir
  • Telithromycin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Clarithromycin
  • Itraconazole
  • Cyclosporine

Are there other medicines that would be harmful when taken with MULTAQ?
The following medicines can lead to a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm if taken with MULTAQ:

  • Phenothiazines
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Certain medicines used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm or fast heartbeat

What are possible serious side effects from taking MULTAQ?
MULTAQ may cause serious side effects including slowed heartbeat, inflammation of the lungs (including scarring and thickening), low potassium and magnesium levels in your blood, and changes in kidney function blood tests.

What are the most common side effects?
The most common side effects when taking MULTAQ include stomach problems such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach area pain, and indigestion; feeling tired and weak; skin problems such as redness, rash, and itching. Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Are there other things I should avoid while taking MULTAQ?
Do not drink grapefruit juice while taking MULTAQ, as this can increase the likelihood that you will have a side effect of MULTAQ.

What else should I tell my doctor?
Tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, and herbal remedies (including St. John's Wort) you take to help avoid serious drug interactions.

Is it OK to take a diuretic ("water pill") while on MULTAQ?
Your potassium levels should be within the normal range prior to and while taking MULTAQ. Tell your doctor about any diuretic medications ("water pills") you are taking as some can lower the level of potassium or magnesium in your blood.

Will I need any tests while I'm on MULTAQ?
Your doctor will monitor your heart rhythm regularly to make sure your heartbeat keeps a normal rhythm. Your doctor may perform certain tests, such as heart exams and blood tests, while you're taking MULTAQ.

Full Prescribing Information Including boxed WARNING

MULTAQ Medication Guide (English)

Remember, your doctor is the single best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your doctor if you have any questions about your health or your medicine.

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MULTAQ is a prescription medicine used to lower the chance that you would need to go into the hospital for atrial fibrillation (AFib). It is meant for people who have had AFib in the past but are now in normal rhythm.

Important Safety Information for MULTAQ (dronedarone)

Do not take MULTAQ if you have symptoms of heart failure that recently worsened and you were hospitalized, or if you have severe heart failure. MULTAQ doubles your risk of dying if you have these conditions.

Do not take MULTAQ if you have a type of atrial fibrillation (AFib) called permanent AFib.You should not take MULTAQ if you are in AFib and your doctor is not planning to change you back into normal rhythm. People with permanent AFib who take MULTAQ have a higher risk of death, stroke, and needing to be treated in a hospital for heart failure. Continue