Medicine in the modern world helps humans to have a good life. Diseases that were unable to be treated in the past or medications that pose great harm in the old days are now made more safe and effective. Thankfully, living in this era made us realise how medicine plays a big role in ensuring humans have a better life. However, the issue with living in the current world is the rising cases of metabolic diseases such as hypertension which negatively impact a person’s life. There are many antihypertensive medications available to help manage blood pressure. One of the medications is sotalol.
Sotalol belongs to a drug class named beta blocker. In general, beta blockers work by blocking the action of adrenaline hormones which ultimately slow down the heart. In the case of hypertension, beta blockers medicines help to manage hypertension by making the heart beat slower to reduce the blood pressure. Beside the slower heartbeat, it also helps to improve blood vessel’s function by allowing it to relax and expand. All of the beta blockers function eventually does improve the blood flow and blood pressure.
However, since beta blockers work on blocking adrenaline, this means that it also affects other organs that are linked with adrenaline function such as lungs. Thus, beta blockers medicines are developed into two types, selective and nonselective beta blockers. As the name implies, nonselective beta blockers block both beta-1 and beta-2 receptors whereas selective beta blockers block beta-1 receptors. Beta-1 receptors are located in the heart and beta-2 receptors mostly are located in the lungs, specifically the bronchiole and arteries of the skeletal muscles. Beta-2 receptors also exist on the uterine muscles, the digestive system and urinary system. In short, selective beta blockers mainly work on the heart while nonselective beta blockers may work on many organs in the body.
Where does sotalol belong? Sotalol belongs to nonselective beta blockers. Sotalol is mainly used to treat irregular heartbeats such as ventricular tachycardia and certain atrial fibrillation. These irregular heartbeats or also known as arrhythmia can be life threatening. Sotalol is able to improve the heartbeat compared to other beta blockers since it possesses antiarrhythmic properties and is better tolerated in patients compared to other antiarrhythmic drugs.
You probably wonder why sotalol is mentioned as part of drugs used for hypertension. In the past, sotalol was used in tackling hypertension especially in younger patients but it is not primarily used as antihypertensive drugs in current treatment. The use of sotalol as antihypertensive dated back in the 70’s. Since sotalol actually may cause severe low blood pressure, usage of sotalol as an antihypertensive agent is not suggestive.
Sotalol typically comes in a tablet form but you may receive it in liquid form. If you are prescribed sotalol, please take it according to your doctor’s advice. If you are given in liquid form, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device or spoon because a household spoon may not be giving the correct dose you are supposed to take. Sotalol may be taken once or twice a day, depending on doctor’s instructions. This medication can be taken with or without food. Stick to one way of either with food or without food and take it in the same way for each dose. Never take more or less than instructed. Use this medication at the same time of the day to ensure you are taking it regularly. Taking it regularly is the best way of making sure you are receiving the most benefits from sotalol.
Sotalol is used to control medical conditions and may not totally cure it. With that in mind, you should not stop taking sotalol even when you feel well. If you are planning to stop taking sotalol, do talk with your healthcare provider first. Sudden stop of taking this medication may cause chest pain and heart attack. To avoid running out of this medication, make sure to get refills of the medicine several days early before you really run out of the sotalol.
If you are taking other medication or supplements, please let your doctor know before you are prescribed this medication. Certain medications may react with sotalol. If you are taking antacids to help treat heartburn or digestive issues, especially those that contain aluminium or magnesium, do take these antacids at least 2 hours before or after sotalol.
Sotalol, just like any other drugs, may pose potential side effects. Common side effects include dizziness, light-headedness, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhoea and fatigue. If any of the side effects get worse, do talk with your doctor. Avoid operating machines or driving if you do feel dizzy or light-headedness. Should there be serious side effects such as worsening or new symptoms of shortness of breath, swelling limbs and chest pain, please seek medical care immediately by going to the emergency department if you are unable to meet your doctor promptly.
It can be concluded that sotalol is a nonselective beta blocker which mainly is used to treat arrhythmia. Taking this medication by following the doctor’s instructions can improve heart condition and avoid side effects. If unwanted symptoms or discomfort arise from taking this medication, never immediately stop taking this medication and go talk to your doctor regarding this issue.