How do medications treat arrhythmia?

Medications for arrhythmia can help regulate heartbeat and reduce the risk for complications, such as stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease. Antiarrhythmic drugs, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and anticoagulants are all used to treat arrhythmia. Antiarrhythmic drugs control the abnormal firing of your heart's natural pacemaker and heart tissues that conduct electrical pulses too rapidly. Calcium channel blockers decrease calcium levels in the heart and blood stream, reducing blood pressure and the contraction of heart muscles, which slows rapid heartbeats. Beta-blockers also decrease heart rate by stopping the effects of adrenaline. Anticoagulants inhibit the blood's ability to clot, reducing the risk of dangerous blood clots. Depending on the severity and type of your arrhythmia, your doctor will determine the right medication for you.

There are many different types of heart arrhythmia so there are different medications for these conditions. It all depends on your specific condition. An arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation, for example, may be treated with a medication as simple and common as a beta-blocker like metoprolol or a calcium-channel blocker like diltiazem but may require medications that require frequent monitoring or have more potential side effects like digoxin or amiodarone. Other arrhythmias may be treated with other medications or may require surgery by an electro physiologist or device implantation like a pacemaker or internal defibrillator.

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