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:
If a caller upsets you, do you hurl the phone across the room? Do you curse
and blast the horn furiously if the driver in front of you takes three seconds
to notice the green light? An angry temperament can hurt more than
relationships -- anger and heart disease may go hand in hand, according to
"You're talking about people who seem to experience high levels of anger
very frequently," says Laura Kubzansky, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor at the
Harvard School of Public Health who...
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 Antiarrhythmia 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:
Swelling of the feet or legs
Shortness of breath
Abnormally fast heartbeat
Abnormally slow heartbeat
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Other potential side effects you should discuss with your doctor if you experience them include:
Bitter or metallic taste or change in taste
Loss of appetite
Increased sensitivity to sunlight
Diarrhea or constipation
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.