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:
It’s dramatic when someone has a heart attack on television or in the movies. But in real life, symptoms can be more subtle and difficult to identify. And because heart attack and angina symptoms are so similar, it may be hard to tell what's going on.
But knowing the differences -- and the reasons behind them -- can result in seeking treatment sooner, and living longer.
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.