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Pronounced: MEX-ih-till
Generic name: Mexiletine hydrochloride

Why is this drug prescribed: Mexitil is used to treat severe irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Irregular heart rhythms are generally divided into two main types: heartbeats that are faster than normal (tachycardia) and heartbeats that are slower than normal (bradycardia). Arrhythmias are often caused by drugs or disease but can occur in otherwise healthy people with no history of heart disease or other illness.

Most important fact about this drug: While you are taking Mexitil, your doctor should carefully monitor your heartbeat to make sure the drug is working properly.

How should you take this medication: Take Mexitil with food or an antacid. Take it exactly as prescribed. --If you miss a dose... If you remember within 4 hours, take it immediately. If more than 4 hours have passed, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Mexitil. More common side effects may include: Blurred vision, changes in sleep habits, chest pain, constipation, depression, diarrhea, difficult or labored breathing, dizziness, headache, heartburn, light-headedness, nausea, nervousness, numbness, poor coordination, rash, swelling due to fluid retention, throbbing heartbeat, tingling or pins and needles, tremors, upset stomach, vision changes, vomiting Less common or rare side effects may include: Abdominal pain/cramps, angina (crushing chest pain), appetite changes, behavior changes, bleeding from the stomach, confusion, congestive heart failure, decreased sex drive, depression, difficulty swallowing, difficulty urinating, dry mouth, dry skin, excessive perspiration, fainting, fatigue, fever, hallucinations, hair loss, hepatitis, hiccups, high blood pressure, hot flashes, impotence, joint pain, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, peptic ulcer, ringing in the ears, seizures, short-term memory loss, skin inflammation and flaking, skin peeling, slow heartbeat, sore throat, speech difficulties, taste changes, vague feeling of bodily discomfort, weakness, worsening of irregular heartbeat

Why should this drug not be prescribed: This drug should not be used if you have heart failure, a heartbeat irregularity called heart block that has not been corrected by a pacemaker, structural heart disease, or if you have recently had a heart attack.

Special warnings about this medication: If you have heart block and a pacemaker Mexitil may be prescribed, but you should be continuously monitored while taking it. Mexitil can aggravate low blood pressure and severe congestive heart failure, so it will be prescribed cautiously for people with these conditions. You should be monitored carefully if you have liver disease or abnormal liver function as a result of congestive heart failure. Diets that change the pH (acid/alkaline content) of your urine can alter the excretion of Mexitil from your body. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about proper diet. Blood disorders have occurred with Mexitil use. Make sure your doctor performs periodic blood tests while you are using this medication. If you have a seizure disorder, use Mexitil with caution.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Mexitil is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either may be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important that you consult with your doctor before taking any of the following: Antacids such as Maalox Caffeine products such as No-Doz Cimetidine (Tagamet) Other antiarrhythmic drugs such as Norpace and Quinidex Phenobarbital Phenytoin (Dilantin) Rifampin (Rifadin) Theophylline products such as Theo-Dur

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Mexitil during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Mexitil appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage: Treatment is usually begun in the hospital. ADULTS: The dosage of Mexitil will be adjusted to your individual needs on the basis of your response to the drug. The usual starting dose is 200 milligrams every 8 hours when quick control of an irregular heartbeat is not necessary. Your doctor may adjust the dose by 50 or 100 milligrams up or down every 2 to 3 days. Most people will do well on 200 to 300 milligrams taken every 8 hours with food or antacids. If you do not, your doctor may raise your dose to 400 milligrams every 8 hours. You should not take more than 1,200 milligrams in a day. When fast relief is needed, your doctor may start you on 400 milligrams of Mexitil, followed by 200 milligrams in 8 hours. You should see the effects of this drug within 30 minutes to 2 hours. In general, people with reduced kidney function are prescribed the usual doses of Mexitil, but those with severe liver disease may require lower doses and will be monitored closely. Some people who handle this drug well may be transferred to a 12-hour dosage schedule that will make it easier and more convenient to take Mexitil. If you do well on a Mexitil dose of 300 milligrams or less every 8 hours, your doctor may decide to divide the daily total into 2 doses taken every 12 hours. CHILDREN: The safety and efficacy of this drug have not been established in children. OLDER ADULTS: Dosages will be adjusted according to the individual's needs.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. There have been deaths from Mexitil overdose. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. The symptoms of Mexitil overdose may include: Coma, low blood pressure, nausea, seizures, slow heartbeat or other heart problems, tingling or pins and needles

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