Heart Disease and Antiarrhythmics

Antiarrhythmics are drugs that are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms resulting from irregular electrical activity of the heart.

 

Examples of Antiarrhythmics

They include:

Other types of heart drugs can be used to treat arrhythmias, too:

Why Take Antiarrhythmics?

Drugs alone may be enough to control heart rhythm, or you may take them in addition to getting 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.

In an emergency, doctors use a variety of drugs to control or convert an abnormal heart rhythm.

Side Effects

Talk to your doctor before taking any other drugs (prescription or over-the-counter), herbal remedies, or supplements in case they could cause problems because of the antiarrhythmic you're taking.

Tell your doctor right away if:

  • Your arrthymia gets worse
  • Your heartbeat gets faster or slower
  • Your chest hurts
  • You get dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
  • Your vision gets blurry
  • Your feet or legs swell

You should also call your doctor if you have:

You might:

When you start taking an antiarrhythmic, don't drive until you know how the medication affects you. Ask your doctor for advice about what else to avoid doing and when you can resume.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 12, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "Medications for Arrhythmia."

Heart Rhythm Society: "Antiarrhythmics."

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