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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Betapace

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Betapace General Information [posted 11/24/98] 
Question: I would like some information on the medication called Betapace. My mother was recently put on this drug. I'd like to know the long and short term side effects, pros, cons, and any other important information. Thank you.

Answer: Betapace is an antiarrthymic drug possessing both Class II and Class III activity. Like most of these drugs the benefits/risks depend a great deal on the type and severity of the arrthymia. Side effects of Betapace are fatigue, nausea, slow pulse and there do not appear to be any different long term side effects. Using these drugs is a very individual issue. 

Question: My grandmother was recently put on Betapace to control arrhythmia, and she has become incredibly disoriented and confused since taking it. Is this a typical side effect? My grandmother is 80.5 years old and has never had any signs of memory loss/Alzheimer’s previously. Her confusion is VERY strong and she dreams things and believes they happened. She also doesn't know what day/time it is, etc. Needless to say, I'm concerned. On Monday she is having about 12" of her intestine removed due to an ulcerated polyp.

Answer: Betapace(sotalol) is a drug used to treat arrhythmias. It has both Class II(beta adrenergic blocking) and Class III(cardiac action potential) activity. About 2% of patients experience a change in mood or mental status while on this drug. About the only way you will find out if it is the drug or some other problem is to stop the drug. This should be done post-operatively after her colon surgery when she can be monitored to ensure that she does not develop severe arrhtymias. If her confusion persists past 2 days it probably is not the drug.

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