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Learning About Rhythm-Control Medicines

Cross section of the heart, showing its electrical system

Introduction

Rhythm-control medicines return your heart to a normal rhythm. And they keep it at a normal rhythm. They are also called antiarrhythmics.

Doctors may use these medicines for many reasons. These reasons include:

  • You have symptoms from a heart rhythm problem.
  • You had electric cardioversion. Or you will have it.
  • You had catheter ablation.
  • You tried medicine to control your heart rate. But it did not help.
  • You are at risk of having a dangerous heart rhythm.

These medicines can have serious side effects.

Examples

  • Amiodarone
  • Propafenone (Rythmol)
  • Sotalol

Possible side effects

Side effects depend on which medicine you take. One serious one is a very irregular heart rate.

Read the information that comes with your medicine.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • You may be in the hospital when you start this medicine. Your doctor will watch what it does to your heart.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor any questions. You may want to know more about the pros and cons of the medicine.
  • Your doctor will check you often. He or she will make sure you are not having problems. Be sure to go to all of your visits.
  • You may need regular blood tests. These make sure you are taking the right amount of medicine.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines. This includes over-the-counter medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines and natural health products you take. Taking some medicines together can cause problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.