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INTRODUCTION

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sotalol (soe-ta-lole)

Betapace, Betapace AF, Sorine, Sotacor

Classification

Therapeutic: antiarrhythmics (classes II and III)

Pharmacologic: beta blockers

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Indications
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Management of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Betapace AF: Maintenance of normal sinus rhythm in patients with highly symptomatic atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter (AFIB/AFL) who are currently in sinus rhythm.

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Action
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Blocks stimulation of beta1 (myocardial) and beta2 (pulmonary, vascular, and uterine)–adrenergic receptor sites. Therapeutic Effects: Suppression of arrhythmias.

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Adverse Reactions/Side Effects
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CNS: fatigue, weakness, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, memory loss, mental depression, mental status changes, nervousness, nightmares. EENT: blurred vision, dry eyes, nasal stuffiness. Resp: bronchospasm, wheezing. CV: ARRHYTHMIAS, BRADYCARDIA, CHF, PULMONARY EDEMA, orthostatic hypotension, peripheral vasoconstriction. GI: constipation, diarrhea, nausea. GU: erectile dysfunction, decreased libido. Derm: itching, rashes. Endo: hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia. MS: arthralgia, back pain, muscle cramps. Neuro: paresthesia. Misc: drug-induced lupus syndrome.

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PHYSICAL THERAPY IMPLICATIONS

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Examination and Evaluation
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  • Assess heart rate, ECG, and heart sounds, especially during exercise (See Appendices G, H). Although intended to treat certain arrhythmias, this drug can unmask or precipitate new arrhythmias (proarrhythmic effect). Report immediately an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) or symptoms of other arrhythmias, including palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, and fatigue/weakness.

  • Assess routinely for signs of CHF and pulmonary edema, including dyspnea, rales/crackles, weight gain, peripheral edema, and jugular venous distention. Report these signs to the physician immediately.

  • Assess symptoms of bronchospasm (wheezing, coughing, tightness in chest). Perform pulmonary function tests to quantify suspected changes in ventilation and respiration (See Appendices I, J, K). Repeated or prolonged bronchoconstriction may require a change in dose or medication (e.g., switch to a more cardioselective beta blocker).

  • Assess blood pressure (BP)when patient assumes a more upright position (lying to standing, sitting to standing, lying to sitting). Document orthostatic hypotension and contact physician when systolic BP falls >20 mm Hg or diastolic BP falls >10 mm Hg.

  • Monitor signs of peripheral vasoconstriction, such as extreme coldness in the hands and feet, cyanosis, and muscle cramping. Notify physician of severe or prolonged signs of vasoconstriction.

  • Be alert for signs of hypoglycemia (weakness, malaise, irritability, fatigue) or hyperglycemia (drowsiness, fruity breath, increased urination, unusual thirst). Medication may mask some signs of hypoglycemia, but dizziness and sweating may still occur. Patients with diabetes mellitus should check blood glucose levels frequently.

  • Assess any back or joint pain to rule out musculoskeletal pathology; that is, try to determine if pain is drug induced rather than caused by anatomic or biomechanical problems.

  • Assess signs of paresthesia (numbness, tingling) or muscle cramping. Perform objective tests, including electroneuromyography and sensory testing to document any drug-related neuropathic changes.

  • Assess dizziness and drowsiness that might affect gait, balance, and other functional activities (See Appendix C). Report balance problems and functional limitations to the ...

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