Some cardiac arrhythmias may be treated through medical management. This option should be discussed with your cardiologist, who will choose a drug based on the type of arrhythmia and any other underlying heart disease or risk factors present. All treatments, including medical management, carry risks and benefits. To best treat your condition, patients should come prepared with a list of all medications and supplements you are taking. This can help as we tailor the best treatment plan for treating your arrhythmia and other underlying conditions.
There are several classes of medications commonly used:
- Beta blockers decrease heart rate and cardiac output to block the effects of adrenaline on the heart. This can, in turn, lower blood pressure.
- Anti-arrhythmic medications may be used to prevent arrhythmias from happening or to convert an abnormal rhythm back to a normal rhythm. In emergency situations, anti-arrhythmics can be given through an intravenous (IV) line. They also may be given for daily, long-term treatment of fast heartbeats (tachycardias) and premature beats.
- Calcium channel blockers help treat arrhythmias by keeping calcium from moving into the heart and blood vessel tissue.
- Anticoagulants keep blood from clotting, which can help prevent strokes. People with atrial fibrillation are more susceptible to blood clot formation.