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Precautions and Warnings With Dantrolene

Before prescribing dantrolene, your healthcare provider should be aware of any other medical conditions you have, particularly if you have problems with your liver, heart, or lungs. Safety precautions should also be carefully followed by those who are frequently exposed to the sun or take certain medications, as there are warnings for potentially dangerous complications that can occur with dantrolene.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using dantrolene sodium (Dantrium®) if you have:
 
 
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
 
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Dantrolene Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this medicine include the following:
 
  • Dantrolene can cause serious liver problems. Although liver problems can develop in anyone using the drug, the risk appears to be highest in females, people older than age 35, and people taking the medicine at high doses and for longer than three months. If you need to take this medicine on a daily basis, your healthcare provider will monitor your liver function using blood tests throughout treatment. To minimize the risk for liver problems, your healthcare provider will prescribe the lowest dose that works for you.
 
  • If you have not responded to the medicine within 45 days of starting it, dantrolene may not be the best treatment for you. In these cases, your healthcare provider may recommend you stop using it.
 
  • High doses of this medicine caused tumors and cancer in animal studies. It is unknown if humans have the same risk.
 
  • Dantrolene can cause significant drowsiness, lightheadedness, and muscle weakness. If you take this medicine by mouth, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects you. If you have received this medicine in the hospital, you should avoid these activities for at least 48 hours. Your reflexes and reaction times may be altered, even if you feel fine.
 
  • You should know that when given intravenously (as an injection into a vein), dantrolene can cause significant muscle weakness, such as reduced hand-grip strength and weakness of leg muscles. These side effects may persist for up to 48 hours after you receive the medicine. Take care when performing activities that require muscle strength, such as walking down stairs, during this period.
 
  • Dantrolene injection has been reported to cause swallowing problems and choking. Therefore, be careful when you are eating food or drinking liquids on the day you receive the medication.
 
  • People using this medicine may be more sensitive to the sun. Try to avoid excessive sun exposure, including natural sun and tanning beds, while using dantrolene. If you do go out in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop a severe sunburn while using this medication.
 
  • There have been reports of seizures occurring in people treated with dantrolene, including people who have never had a seizure before. People with a seizure disorder may have an increased risk for developing this complication.
 
  • Dantrolene is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Dantrium and Pregnancy).
 
 
  • This medicine has been shown to pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using the drug (see Dantrium and Breastfeeding).
 
Know the Signs - Concussion Safety

Dantrolene Drug Information

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