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Procainamide (By mouth)

Procainamide (proe-KANE-a-mide)

Treats irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). Belongs to the group of drugs called antiarrhythmics. This medicine is no longer available in the United States.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to procainamide or procaine-type local anesthetics (medicines that cause numbing). You should not use this medicine if you have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus) or heart rhythm problems such as heart block or QT prolongation.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Your doctor may tell you to take this medicine with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • While taking the extended-release form of this medicine, part of the tablet may pass into your stools. This is normal and is nothing to worry about.
  • You may need to carry identification saying that you are using procainamide. Ask your doctor about this.

If a dose is missed:

  • Use the missed dose as soon as you can, unless you are more than 2 hours late (4 hours if you use extended-release tablets).
  • If you are more than 2 hours late (4 hours for the extended-release tablet), skip the missed dose and use the medicine at your usual time.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using a other heart rhythm medicines (such as Quinidex®, Cordarone®, or Inderal®), medicines for high blood pressure, or pimozide (Orap®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or myasthenia gravis.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Extreme tiredness or weakness.
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat, mouth, or gums.
  • Joint pain or swelling.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble with breathing.
  • Skin rash, severe itching, or hives.
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Bitter taste in your mouth
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 6/12/2013

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