Propafenone - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Propafenone: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is propafenone?

Propafenone is an antiarrhythmic Class 1C drug used to treat and prevent possibly life-threatening heart rates. With local anesthetic effects, propafenone works by stabilizing the heart muscles and improving the heart’s rhythm. Doctors prescribe it for patients suffering from a range of heart conditions such as:

  • atrial fibrillation (heart flutter)
  • ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (episodes of rapid heart rates)


A prescription from a healthcare professional is advisable for the consumption of this medication.

What are the uses of propafenone?

Propafenone comes in the form of an oral tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule. Doctors usually prescribe it every 8 hours depending on one’s condition. 

Patients suffering from the following conditions require propafenone: 

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular arrhythmias

Propafenone works by blocking the activity of certain electrical signals in the heart that cause an irregular heart rhythm. In turn, it reduces the possibility of a heart attack or stroke. 

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What are the side effects of propafenone?

While most patients do not see any side effects, a few common ones include headaches, salty/metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, constipation, anxiety, and reduced heart rate. Patients consuming propafenone must avoid grapefruit since it may increase side effects. 

Propafenone may trigger some complex conditions such as:

  • Infection (sudden fever, chills, persistent throat ache)
  • Heart failure (chest pain, shortness of breath, drooping arms or legs, unexplained tiredness)
  • Liver conditions (persistent nausea, abdominal pain, dark urine)

Seek immediate medical help if such symptoms persist. 


Frequently Asked Questions about Propafenone

1. What does propafenone do for the heart?

As an antiarrhythmic drug, propafenone (also known as rythmol) treats fatal heart conditions such as atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. It restores normal heart function in a patient while maintaining regular heart rhythm. Regular consumption of this medication can help reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attacks or stroke in a patient.

2. Does propafenone reduce blood pressure?

Propafenone interferes with certain medications in the body such as metoprolol. This drug increases the level of beta-blockers, thus resulting in hypotension or low blood pressure. Such an interaction could result in a critical side effect. It is advisable to consume this medication only as directed by a healthcare professional.

3. Can propafenone cause heart failure?

Heart failure is one of the complex side effects of propafenone. If a patient has had a recent heart attack, doctors do not advise taking propafenone. If a patient has chest pain, episodes of fainting, blurred vision, drooping arms or legs, rapid heartbeat, swollen feet, unexplained bleeding, or bruising, he may need immediate medical attention.

4. Who should not take propafenone?

Patients should not take propafenone if they:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have had a heart attack recently
  • Suffer from breathing problems such as asthma
  • Suffer from a condition known as Brugada Syndrome or AV block
  • Have an uncontrolled electrolyte imbalance
  • Have a liver or kidney condition
  • Have a pacemaker or defibrillator

5. For how long should you take propafenone?

Doctors prescribe propafenone to patients based on various factors such as their medical condition, liver condition, and age. Typically, a patient consumes 150 mg of propafenone every 8 hours with or without food. Doctors change or alter this dosage based on the health of the patient and overall improvement.

6. Can you take propafenone for a long term?

Taking propafenone for a long time is advisable only if prescribed by a doctor. Stopping the course of this medication mid-way or without consultation of a healthcare professional may affect a patient’s heart condition. It is essential to consult a doctor for the correct dosage and use of propafenone.

7. When should I take propafenone?

Propafenone needs to be consumed exactly as per the advice of a doctor. Ideally, doctors recommend this medication at 8-hour intervals before or after food. A patient must avoid changing the dosage or timing without prior consultation. While consuming the tablet, remember never to crush, chew or break the medicine.

8. Can I exercise if I’m taking propafenone?

Since propafenone has the chemical structure of a beta-blocker, studies have shown that it significantly reduces heart rate and blood pressure when a person is working out. Nevertheless, patients suffering from irregular heart rhythms must consult a specialist before heavy exercise. It may interfere with the overall well-being of the heart.

9. Does propafenone cause fatigue?

Feeling tired or nauseous is a common side effect of propafenone. If a patient is feeling unusually fatigued, consulting a doctor is essential. It is important to remember that a doctor would prescribe propafenone to a patient only when the results far outweigh its side effects.

10. Does propafenone cause insomnia?

No, propafenone does not result in insomnia in most patients. There is little scientific data to prove that Class I drugs such as propafenone cause insomnia. According to some studies, it has only been seen in 1-2% of patients so far. If a patient notices any unusual symptoms, consult a doctor.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.