Sotalol (SO – tah - lol) is the generic name for the medicines Betapace® and Betapace® AF. This medicine treats a child whose heart beats faster than it should (tachycardia). Sotalol works by controlling the nerves that make the heart beat. This slows down the heartbeat.
Your child will be admitted to the hospital for about 3 days when his or her doctor starts giving sotalol, and sometimes when there will be an increase in the dose. This is to make sure the medicine is slowing your child’s heart rate, and to watch your child for side effects of the medicine.
If your child is allergic to sotalol or any other beta-blockers (such as atenolol, metoprolol or propranolol), he or she should not take this medicine. Talk to the doctor if your child has asthma. This medicine may make the asthma worse. This medicine may change your child’s blood sugar. Tell the doctor if your child has diabetes.
Taking this Medicine
- Read the label carefully and make sure you are giving your child the proper amount.
- Give the exact dose of medicine that your doctor ordered.
- Stay with your child until he or she has swallowed the dose of medicine.
- If your child has trouble taking medicine, ask the nurse for the Helping Hand HH-IV-28, Medications: How to Give by Mouth.
- This medicine should be given 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. If your child gets an upset stomach from the medicine, then you may give it with food.
- It is very important to give the medicine every day as ordered, even if your child is feeling fine.
Foods and Other Drugs with this Medicine
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicine, including non-prescription medicines (such as antacids or cold medicines).
- Your child should not drink large amounts of soft drinks, chocolate drinks, tea or coffee while taking this medicine. If your child takes an antacid, he or she should take it 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking sotalol.
- If your child is taking any other medicine, tell your doctor and pharmacist. Certain medicines, vitamins, nutritional and herbal products may change the effects of sotalol and may require changes to the use of this medicine.
- There are other brands of this medicine, but do not switch from one brand to another without the doctor's approval. These products are not all the same.
- Some pharmacies may not have this medicine. Please ask your nurse to call your pharmacy before you leave the hospital to see if they have this medicine or can order it for you. You may also have the prescription filled at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Pharmacy.
If You Forget to Give a Dose
If you forget to give a dose of this medicine, give it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, do not give the missed dose at all. Do not double the next dose. Instead, go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you have any questions about this, check with your child's doctor or pharmacist.
If a Dose Is Vomited
Even if the medicine is vomited (thrown up) right after it is given, some of the medicine may still be in the stomach. Do not repeat the dose unless it is in tablet form and you can see that the whole tablet was vomited.
Possible Side Effects
- Slow, fast, or irregular heart beat
- Tiredness or weakness
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Raised or lowered blood sugar levels in children with diabetes
- Swelling of the legs or feet
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Fainting or dizziness
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
When to Call the Doctor
Call your child’s doctor if he or she has any of these symptoms:
- Slow, fast, or irregular heart beat
- Any side effects that are very bothersome.
- Trouble breathing
- An unusual or allergic reaction to any medicine.
Storing this Medicine
- Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
- Always keep medicine in the original container from the pharmacy.
- If you carry medicine in your purse, keep it in its childproof container and keep your purse out of the reach of children.
- Have your pharmacist give you 2 labeled containers if your child care provider or school nurse will be giving this medicine.
- Bring all your child's medicines with you in the original containers whenever your child sees a doctor, goes to an emergency room, or is admitted to the hospital. This helps doctors who may not know your child.
Testing the Heart’s Rhythm
An electrocardiogram (EKG) will be done once in a while to check your child’s heart rate and rhythm. For more information about this test, please read Helping Hand HH-III-6, EKG (Electrocardiogram).
HH-V-160 6/02 Revised 1/15 Copyright 2002, Nationwide Children’s Hospital