Depending on the type of atrial fibrillation (A-fib), there are various medications available to address the possible causes or other medical conditions affecting the A-fib. Prior to taking any of these drugs, it is recommended that patients seek first the advise of their physicians specially to ensure proper medications and avoid unwanted side effects. Patients might be surprised to know that some antiarrhythmic drugs can even produce or augment irregular heart beat patterns. That is why necessary precautions should be followed before taking any of these.
For patients who want to manage their heart rhythm, the most popular drugs include Amiodarone, Sotalol, Propafenone and Flecainide. These meds have a 50%-70% effectiveness rate. They are often used to lessen the incidence and extent of experiencing A-fib. Doctors can prescribe brand names for this group of drugs. Patients must ensure that they discuss possible allergies to medications so the doctors can properly assign the right antiarrhythmic drug.
There are also a group of medications which serve as blockers. First are the Beta-blockers. As contrary to the cluster of drugs above, this group focuses more on the heart rate rather than the heart rhythm. They reduce the pace of the SA node and also lessen the speed of conduction through the AV node. Through the process that these Beta-blockers ease, the heart does not have a hard time requiring for oxygen. Therefore the blood pressure alleviates and steadies. On the other hand, there are also the Calcium Channel Blockers which also concentrate on moderating heart rate. These drugs have the same function as the first cluster of blockers. Related to these set of medications is Digoxin. This drug also eases the conduction activity in the AV node but is regarded to act slower as compared to the blockers.
Dofetilide is another antiarrhythmia medication. But not like the others which can be taken by patients on their own time and convenience, this oral drug can only be administered in the hospital in a three-day period. Often, the patient must be under observation in the hospital to enable doctors to strictly examine the heart rhythm. Yet, when the effort to remove the patient’s atrial fibrillation seems effective, maintenance dose can already be done at home.
There are also other medicines that can be taken for A-fib. These include Ibutilide, Dronedarone, and Quinidine. Yet as compared to the previous sets of drugs, these are prescribed and used less often. Additionally, herbal medications are also trying to carve their names as possible alternatives to the more popular antiarrhythmic meds. However, further studies should be done to prove the claims of companies producing herbal cures.
As mentioned, some of these drugs can lead to other complications such as blood clot development that can even result to strokes or other health complexities. When this happens, doctors usually prescribe other medications to avoid such problems. Again, patients should be careful in taking any of the medicines for atrial fibrillation. Never take any of them without prescription and physician’s advise.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation
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