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If you have a potentially life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia, your healthcare provider may recommend you use a medication called Norpace CR. This drug works by preventing the heart from responding to premature electrical signals. Norpace CR is reserved for use in adults, although there may be times where it can be used in children.

What Is Norpace CR Used For?

Norpace® CR (disopyramide) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as antiarrhythmics. It is approved for treating life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.

What Is a Ventricular Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. There are several different types of arrhythmias, depending on where the arrhythmia occurs in the heart and what is irregular about the heartbeat. For example, a heart rhythm problem can occur in the upper chamber of the heart (the atria) or the lower chambers (the ventricles). The heartbeat can be too fast, too slow, or have an irregular rhythm.
When the irregular heartbeat occurs in the lower chambers of the heart, it is called a ventricular arrhythmia. Just as there are several different types of arrhythmias in general, there are several different types of ventricular arrhythmias, and not all types are life-threating.
Two types of heart rhythm irregularities are ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular tachycardia occurs when the ventricles beat quickly, causing a heart rate in excess of 120 beats a minute. When the heart rate is very fast, or lasts longer than several seconds, symptoms can occur. Some of the possible symptoms can include:
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations (feelings of a racing or pounding heart).
Ventricular tachycardia that lasts for longer than 30 seconds, or sustained ventricular tachycardia, can be dangerous because it could turn into ventricular fibrillation. In ventricular fibrillation, the ventricles contract in such an uncoordinated manner that they quiver instead of beating normally. Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately to prevent death.
Norpace CR is only approved to treat life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, such as sustained ventricular tachycardia. It can help control the abnormal heart rhythm, but will not cure it. Norpace CR should not be used in people who have less severe ventricular arrhythmias, such as premature ventricular contractions, even if they are experiencing symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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