Antiarrhythmics are drugs that are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms resulting from irregular electrical activity of the heart. There are many different types of antiarrhythmic drugs. Examples include:
Doctors call it the "Hollywood heart attack": a middle-aged man breaks into a cold sweat, grimaces, and clutches his chest-just like in the movies. Trouble is, in real life, heart attack symptoms don't always announce themselves so dramatically. More often they are insidious and puzzling, such as unexplained fatigue or abdominal discomfort, and many people wait for hours before seeking help.
Big mistake, doctors tell WebMD. The ability to quickly spot signs of heart attack, angina, and stroke can...
There are also a variety of drugs used by the doctor in an emergency situation to control or convert an abnormal heart rhythm.
Why Do I Need to Take an Antiarrhythmic Drug?
Your doctor has determined that you have an abnormal heart rhythm that would be best treated with drugs alone or in addition to a procedure, such as putting in an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).
Because these drugs only control abnormal heart rhythms, not cure them, you may have to take them for life.
Can I Take Other Drugs While Taking Antiarrhythmics?
If you are taking an antiarrhythmic, talk to your doctor before taking any other drugs (prescription or over-the-counter), herbal remedies, or supplements.
Are There Side Effects Associated With Antiarrhythmics?
Yes, antiarrhythmics do have side effects. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:
When first taking antiarrhythmics, avoid operating heavy machinery (for example, driving) until you know how the medication will affect you. Ask your doctor for advice about what to avoid doing and when you can resume.