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Medications for Arrhythmia

Other names: Heart Palpitations; Palpitations

What is an Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow or irregular. It occurs when the electrical signals that stimulate our heart to beat do not work properly. There are many different types of arrhythmia.

When your heart is healthy, a steady, electrical signal that originates in the Sino Atrial node in the right upper part of your heart keeps your heart at a regular beat, usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This is called sinus rhythm. An arrhythmia is any disturbance in this sinus rhythm. Most arrhythmias are harmless or not serious; however, others can predispose a person to a stroke or cardiac arrest.

What are the Symptoms of an Arrhythmia?

Some arrhythmias cause no symptoms and are only diagnosed during a routine physical or investigations for unrelated reasons.

Noticeable arrhythmia symptoms may include:

  • A feeling like your heart is racing
  • A slow heartbeat
  • Palpitations, or a fluttering in your chest
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Fainting or almost fainting.

What Causes an Arrhythmia?

Since there are many different types of arrhythmia, there are also many reasons why arrhythmias occur. Some common reasons include:

  • Certain medications and supplements
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Current or prior heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Drug or substance abuse
  • Excess caffeine
  • Genetics
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Overindulgence in alcohol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Structural problems within the heart
  • Thyroid problems (over or underactive)

How Are Arrhythmias Diagnosed?

If you have any symptoms of an arrhythmia see your doctor. Your doctor with review your medical and medication history and conduct a physical examination. Tests may be conducted that will determine if you have any underlying conditions that may be causing your arrhythmia.

Other tests may include:

  • An electrocardiogram: Sensors are placed on your chest that detects the electrical activity of your heart.
  • A Holter monitor: This is a portable ECG which measures your heart rhythm over 24 hours or longer
  • An event monitor: For people who have sporadic arrhythmias, a button can be pushed which records the electrical activity of the heart when they have symptoms
  • Echocardiogram: A handheld device is placed on your chest which records your hearts size structure and motion through sound waves
  • Implantable loop recorder: A device is implanted under your skin which detects abnormal heart rhythms.

Other tests may include a stress test, tilt table testing or electrophysiological testing.

Your arrhythmia will be diagnosed according to how the heart is beating, for example:

  • Too slow: bradycardia.
  • Too fast: tachycardia.
  • Irregular: fibrillation or flutter
  • Too early: premature contraction.

How is an Arrhythmia Treated?

Treatment depends on the type of arrhythmia, how severe the symptoms are, and if the underlying condition is putting the person at risk of more serious arrhythmia or a complication.

Treatments may include:

  • Ablation therapy
  • Cardioversion
  • Coronary bypass surgery
  • ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator)
  • Maze procedure
  • Medications
  • Pacemakers
  • Surgery
  • Vagal maneuvers
  • Ventricular aneurysm surgery.

Drugs Used to Treat Arrhythmia

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
amiodarone D N 41 reviews
4.2

Generic name: amiodarone systemic

Brand names:  Pacerone, Nexterone

Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

propranolol C N X 10 reviews
6.2

Generic name: propranolol systemic

Drug class: non-cardioselective beta blockers, group II antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

verapamil C N X 12 reviews
5.8

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Brand names:  Calan, Calan SR, Verelan, Isoptin SR, Verelan PM …show all

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Tikosyn C N 47 reviews
7.8

Generic name: dofetilide systemic

Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

dofetilide C N 55 reviews
7.8

Generic name: dofetilide systemic

Brand name:  Tikosyn

Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Pacerone D N 2 reviews
9.5

Generic name: amiodarone systemic

Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

lidocaine B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: lidocaine systemic

Brand names:  Xylocaine-MPF, DentiPatch, Xylocaine HCl

Drug class: local injectable anesthetics, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Calan C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

mexiletine C N 6 reviews
5.5

Generic name: mexiletine systemic

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Calan SR C N X 1 review
7.0

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

disopyramide C N X 5 reviews
8.6

Generic name: disopyramide systemic

Brand names:  Norpace, Norpace CR

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Nexterone D N Add review
0.0

Generic name: amiodarone systemic

Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

phenytoin Off Label D N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: phenytoin systemic

Drug class: hydantoin anticonvulsants, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

quinidine C N 2 reviews
8.5

Generic name: quinidine systemic

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Norpace C N X 2 reviews
8.0

Generic name: disopyramide systemic

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Verelan C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Xylocaine-MPF B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: lidocaine systemic

Drug class: local injectable anesthetics, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

DentiPatch B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: lidocaine systemic

Drug class: local injectable anesthetics, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Isoptin SR C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

procainamide C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: procainamide systemic

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Verelan PM C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: verapamil systemic

Drug class: calcium channel blocking agents, group IV antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Xylocaine HCl B N Add review
0.0

Generic name: lidocaine systemic

Drug class: local injectable anesthetics, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Norpace CR C N X 3 reviews
9.0

Generic name: disopyramide systemic

Drug class: group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Topics under Arrhythmia

Learn more about Arrhythmia

IBM Watson Micromedex

Mayo Clinic Reference

ICD-10 CM Clinical Codes (External)

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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