Managing Arrhythmia With Medication

Arrhythmia Birmingham ALFor some patients, Dr. Smith can treat their cardiac arrhythmia with medications. When taken exactly as prescribed, medications can work really well. Plus, they can be used in patients with arrhythmia to help prevent heart attack and stroke.

These are the different drugs Dr. Macy may use for treatment.

Antiarrhythmic drugs

Tachycardias and premature beats may be treated with a variety of antiarrhythmic drugs. During an emergency, these drugs can be administered through an IV, or taken orally for long-term treatment. These drugs either suppress the abnormal firing of pacemaker tissue or they depress the transmission of incorrect impulses in tissues. These drugs can convert an abnormal rhythm back to a normal rhythm.

The problem with taking these drugs for long-term treatment is their potential side effects. They include proarrhythmia, where preexisting arrhythmias become more frequent or where new arrhythmias as bad or worse as the one being treated develop.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers decrease heart rate and cardiac output to block the effects of adrenaline on the heart. This lowers the blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers help treat arrhythmias by keeping calcium from moving into the heart and blood vessel tissue. Lowering the heart rate can also correct arrhythmias in some patients.

Anticoagulants

Because people with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk for developing blood clots, anticoagulants are used. Commonly known as blood thinners, these drugs make it harder for the blood to coagulate or clot. Clots can block blood flow to the brain, a common cause of strokes.

If possible, Dr. Smith may be able to use medications to manage your arrhythmia. Call our offices at (205) 510-5000 if you have any signs of arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation, and let’s see if medical management could work for you.

Posted in: Arrhythmia

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Macy C. Smith, Jr., MD, FACC, FHRS