Medications

Several medications are used to treat, prevent, or lessen the frequency or severity of abnormal heart rhythms. This group of medications is called antiarrhythmics. 

Talking to your Doctor

By talking openly to your doctor, you will know what treatments are best for you. Your doctor can provide advice based upon your concerns, value and priorities; a process called shared decision-making. Even if you simply want to follow your doctor’s recommendations, it is important to have a conversation about what matters most to you.

Treatment

These decrease the frequency or severity of abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias. These medications include:

  • Beta blockers- such as metoprolol, carvedilol, nadolol, and atenolol
  • Calcium channel blockers- such as verapamil and diltiazem
  • Potassium channel blockers- such as amiodarone, sotalol, and dofetilide
  • Sodium channel blockers such as flecainide and propafenone

Help to prevent blood clots that can cause stroke. Newer anticoagulants include apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto).

Frequent blood tests are not required with these medications.  Warfarin (Coumadin) is commonly used in patients with atrial fibrillation and mechanical heart valves. Patients taking warfarin require periodic blood tests (INR) to ensure that the blood is appropriately thinned.

Lower elevated blood pressure (hypertension) and prevent complications from high blood pressure such as heart attack and stroke.

Decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. Lower cholesterol helps to prevent coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

Help to decrease fluid and salt in the body. Sometimes called water pills, these are used to reduce the buildup of fluid which occurs in heart failure. People taking diuretics may need to take extra potassium to maintain safe levels in the blood.

Keep Exploring

Heart Rhythm Disorders
Millions of people experience irregular or abnormal heartbeats, called arrhythmias, at some point in their lives. Most of the time, they are harmless and happen in healthy people free of heart disease. However, some abnormal heart rhythms can be serious or even deadly. Having other types of heart disease can also increase the risk of arrhythmias.
Pediatrics and Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
This section is for pediatric patients and families living with heart rhythm disorders and heart rhythm disorders related to congenital heart disease (CHD).
Early Warning Signs
If you are experiencing a racing, pounding, rumbling or flopping feeling in your chest or if you have been fainting, having repeated dizzy spells, feeling lightheaded or you are extremely fatigued, it's time to see a doctor to discuss your heart health.
Common Treatments
Learning about the underlying cause of any heart rhythm disorder provides the basis for selecting the best treatment plan. Information and knowledge about care options, and their risks and benefits help you work with your health care provider to make the best choices.
Lifestyle
Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, lifestyle changes often are recommended. Living a “heart healthy” lifestyle can ease the symptoms experienced with heart rhythm disorders and other heart disorders, and can be beneficial to overall patient health.
The Normal Heart
The heart is a fist-sized muscle that pumps blood through the body 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without rest. The normal heart is made up of four parts: two atria on the top of the heart (right atrium and left atrium), and two ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle) which are the muscular chambers on the bottom of the heart that provide the major power to pump blood.