Flecainide Interactions With Foods To Avoid, Coffee, Alcohol

Flecainide (Tambocor) is a class of medications called antiarrhythmic. 

Flecainide works to slow the nerve signals within your heart muscle, which can help normalize an abnormal heart rhythm. 

It does this by blocking sodium channels, which play a role in the electrical conduction in your heart.

If you’ve been prescribed Flecainide, you may wonder if the medication has any food interactions you need to avoid.

Keep reading for a full list of what you should avoid while taking flecainide, including foods to avoid, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and other important interactions and contraindications.

Foods to avoid when taking flecainide 

There aren’t any specific food interactions with flecainide. However, if you’re taking flecainide, it’s because you have an abnormal heart rhythm. 

Therefore, a heart-healthy diet is recommended to promote your overall heart health.

Foods high in saturated fat

Some studies have found an association between diets high in saturated fat and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Newer studies stress that it doesn’t just come down to saturated fat in terms of heart disease risk, but your overall diet.

The bottom line is that it’s likely safe to eat saturated fat in moderation, but there may be heart health risks associated with consistently eating a diet very high in saturated fat.

Saturated fat is typically found in animal foods like high-fat meat and whole-fat dairy products, but are also found in some plant foods such as coconut and palm fruit.

It’s recommended to keep your total saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories (less than 22 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet). 

You may need to be even more mindful of your saturated fat intake if you have a history of heart disease, high cholesterol, or other risk factors for heart disease.

Here is a list of foods high in saturated fat to potentially limit or avoid while taking flecainide:

  • beef (especially non-lean cuts)
  • lamb
  • pork
  • poultry with the skin on
  • lard and cream
  • butter
  • cheese
  • ice cream
  • coconut (including coconut oil)
  • palm oil and palm kernel oil
  • some baked and fried foods

Foods high in sodium

Sodium, one of the compounds in table salt, can exacerbate heart problems if you regularly consume it in large amounts. Excessive sodium intake causes your body to retain fluid, which can increase your blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can weaken areas of your heart and increase your risk of heart disease.

High blood pressure might also worsen or trigger heart rhythm problems, which is the primary condition flecainide is meant to treat.

Many of the highest-sodium foods are processed foods and convenience foods. Some examples of high-sodium foods to limit or avoid while taking flecainide are:

  • Deli and cured meats
  • Salty snacks (chips, pretzels, etc.)
  • Quick-bread mixes
  • Canned soups
  • Frozen entrees
  • Fast food like pizza, salted French fries, etc.

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Can you drink coffee when taking flecainide?

Caffeine is a stimulant that can exacerbate heart arrhythmias. Low- to moderate amounts of caffeine might be tolerated while taking flecainide, but it’s probably a good idea to avoid excessive amounts of caffeine.

Aim to be mindful of your intake of things like:

  • Coffee drinks, especially espresso beverages
  • Energy drinks or shots
  • Foods or drinks with added caffeine, such as some codas
  • Chocolate containing a high percentage of cacao
  • Black tea

Is it safe to drink alcohol while on flecainide?

Drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of heart rhythm abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation, as well as other heart problems. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might also worsen existing arrhythmias. 

Aim to keep your alcohol intake within the recommended limit of one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men.

Foods to eat while taking flecainide

Now you know what foods to avoid when taking flecainide, what should you eat?

A primarily plant-based eating plan such as a Mediterranean diet can help support your heart health. A Mediterranean diet is lower in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar compared to a typical Western diet.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in supporting normal heart rhythm. Magnesium deficiencies can increase your risk of certain heart arrhythmias and can effectively treat ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias.

Nuts and seeds are also sources of healthy unsaturated fats as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Opt for nuts and seeds such as:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds

Whole grains

Compared to refined grains, whole grains are richer in nutrients and fiber. Fiber-rich diets can help reduce your risk of heart disease by promoting healthy cholesterol levels. If you suffer from constipation while taking flecainide, fiber-rich foods can help promote regular bowel movements.

Some examples of whole grains to include while taking flecainide include:

  • Whole wheat bread or grains made with whole wheat flour
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Whole oats
  • Bulgur

Lean protein

Lean protein sources are lower in saturated fat, which might help promote heart health. Some lean protein sources to consider include:

  • Poultry (skinless)
  • Lean beef
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans & lentils (also a good source of fiber and potassium)
  • Soybeans (tofu, edamame, etc.)

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium and antioxidants that can help support healthy blood pressure levels and heart health. Aim to include a variety of colors of produce to benefit from the different types of phytochemicals, which help fight inflammation and promote heart health.

  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
  • Citrus fruits
  • Orange vegetables like carrots and pumpkin
  • Eggplant
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What else can you not take with flecainide?

Drug interactions with flecainide

You should speak to your healthcare provider if you’re taking any of the following medications, which might affect the way flecainide works.

  • Digoxin (a medication used to treat heart failure)
  • Any diuretic or “water pill”
  • Beta-blockers like atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, and sotalol
  • Other heart medications such as amiodarone, diltiazem, disopyramide, nifedipine, quinidine, or verapamil
  • Anti-seizure medications


Smoking tobacco increases your risk of heart disease and can cause high blood pressure. Cigarette smoking may also be responsible for causing heart arrhythmias and increasing your risk of coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Other smokeless tobacco products like chewing tobacco can still increase your blood pressure and heart rate, which will likely worsen heart arrhythmias.

Should flecainide be taken with food?

Flecainide can be taken with or without food. You should take your flecainide doses 12 hours apart, so be sure to keep consistent with your dosing regimen.

What is the best time to take Tambocor?

You can take flecainide at any time, but it’s important to keep the amount consistent in your bloodstream. Doses of flecainide are meant to be taken 12 hours apart, so you should choose times when you can consistently follow through with the dosing schedule. 

For instance, if you are usually in bed by 9 PM, you should aim to take your first flecainide dose no later than 9 AM so you can take your second dose before bedtime.

Side effects of flecainide

Some of the more common side effects of Tambocor include:

  • dizziness
  • changes in vision
  • headache
  • weakness
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body
  • constipation
  • stomach pain

How to reduce the side effects of flecainide

Flecainide comes with side effects that often can’t be avoided because it’s impacting your heart’s rhythm. 

You can reduce the risk of severe side effects by taking flecainide as prescribed and not taking doses closer than 12 hours apart.

How dangerous is flecainide?

The FDA approved Flecainide in 1984. Flecainide later received a Black Box warning from the FDA after a study published in 1991 showed that it might increase your risk of having a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or dying if you’d suffered a recent heart attack. 

Flecainide isn’t commonly used except for cases of extreme and life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities. 

If you experience any of these alarming symptoms while taking flecainide, be sure to seek prompt medical attention:

  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • extreme tiredness
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • persistent cough with blood-tinged mucus
  • swelling of your hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • confusion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • pain in the upper right part of your stomach
  • yellowing of your skin or eyes
  • flu-like symptoms
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Flecainide warnings and contraindications

Flecainide can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy, so you should avoid potentially dangerous situations like climbing ladders or operating machinery until you get used to how flecainide makes you feel.

Natural flecainide alternatives

Magnesium supplementation

Some healthcare providers suggest magnesium supplementation in patients experiencing heart arrhythmias. Certain types of arrhythmias respond very well to magnesium supplementation. 

If you don’t consistently eat a diet rich in magnesium, a magnesium supplement providing 300 milligrams may be beneficial.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that your body produces on its own. Studies show that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may help reduce the severity of heart arrhythmias such as afib. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that might play a role in your heart health. This vitamin has been studied for its ability to prevent atrial fibrillation among post-cardiac surgery patients at higher risk of atrial fibrillation. 

You can easily find vitamin C supplements, but you can also obtain vitamin C from plant foods such as:

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, kiwis, lemons, grapefruit)
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • White potatoes


Flecainide is an antiarrhythmic drug meant to help treat certain times of heart arrhythmias.

The safety of flecainide has been questioned based on a study suggesting that flecainide might increase your risk of heart attack or death if you’ve recently experienced a heart attack. 

To support your heart health and help reduce the severity of heart arrhythmias while taking flecainide, a heart-healthy diet with plenty of plant-based foods is recommended. 

Aim to include lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet while taking flecainide.

Avoid foods high in saturated fat and sodium while taking flecainide. In addition to avoiding these foods, you should also be mindful of other flecainide interactions and contraindications and limit or avoid alcohol, abstain from smoking, and avoid heavy caffeine intake when taking flecainide.

Explore More

heart healthy diet

Heart-Healthy Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid.


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  2. Aliot E, Capucci A, Crijns HJ, Goette A, Tamargo J. Twenty-five years in the making: flecainide is safe and effective for the management of atrial fibrillation. Europace. 2011.
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  5. Alessandra D’Alessandro, Irina Boeckelmann, Matthias Hammwhöner, Andreas Goette, Nicotine, cigarette smoking and cardiac arrhythmia: an overview, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Volume 19, Issue 3, 1 June 2012, Pages 297–305.
  6. Holzgartner H, Maier E, Vierling W. Hochdosierte orale Magnesiumtherapie bei Herzrhythmusstörungen. Ergebnisse einer Anwendungsbeobachtung bei 1,160 Patienten mit Arrhythmie [High-dosage oral magnesium therapy in arrhythmias. Results of an observational study in 1.160 patients with arrhythmia]. Fortschr Med. 1990 Sep.
  7. Zhao Q, Kebbati AH, Zhang Y, Tang Y, Okello E, Huang C. Effect of coenzyme Q10 on the incidence of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. J Investig Med. 2015.
  8. Hemilä H, Suonsyrjä T. Vitamin C for preventing atrial fibrillation in high risk patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2017 Feb.

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