NCLEX Pharm Focus
Does Pharmacology cause you much anxiety? According to the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN), Pharmacological and Parental Therapy represent 12-18% of the RN NCLEX exam while 11-17% represent a portion of the PN NCLEX exam. With this in mind, familiarizing yourself with the commonly asked medications is an important part of your NCLEX preparation.

Amiodarone hydrochloride

Brand Name(s):

  • Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone

Pharmacologic Class:

  • Benzofuran derivative
  • Life-threatening recurrent ventricular fibrillation or recurrent hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia unresponsive to adequate doses of other antiarrhythmics or when alternative drugs can’t be tolerated


  • Effects result from blockade of potassium chloride leading to a prolongation of action potential duration.
Adverse Reactions:
  • CNS: fatigue, malaise, tremor
  • CV: hypotension, bradycardia, arrhythmias, heart failure, heart block, sinus arrest
  • EENT: asymptomatic corneal microdeposits, visual disturbances
  • GI: nausea, vomiting
  • Hematologic: coagulation abnormalities
  • Hepatic: hepatic failure, hepatic dysfunction
  • Metabolic: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism
  • Musculoskeletal: arthralgia
  • Respiratory: acute respiratory distress syndrome, severe pulmonary toxicity
  • Skin: photosensitivity, blue-gray skin

Nursing Considerations:

  • Give drug I.V. only if continuous ECG and electrophysiologic monitoring are available.
  • Be aware of the high risk of adverse reactions.
  • Obtain baseline pulmonary, liver, and thyroid function test results and baseline chest X-ray.
  • Watch carefully for pulmonary toxicity.
  • Monitor liver and thyroid function test results and electrolyte levels, particularly potassium and magnesium.
  • Don't confuse amiodarone with amiloride.

Patient Teaching:

  • Advise patient to wear sunscreen or protective clothing to prevent sensitivity reaction to the sun.
  • Tell patient to take oral drug with food if GI reactions occur.
Phone: 1-650-303-5488
Office: 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P
South San Francisco, CA 94080

D&D Nursing Educators, Inc., 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P South San Francisco, CA 94080

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