The treatment of arrhythmia with medications involves the use of antiarrhythmic drugs, which work to regulate the electrical activity of the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm. The choice of medication and the treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of the arrhythmia, as well as the patient’s overall health and medical history.
Fig 15 drugs
In general, antiarrhythmic medications work by either slowing down the heart rate, blocking the electrical impulses that cause the arrhythmia, or restoring a normal heart rhythm. Some of the commonly used antiarrhythmic medications include:
Fig 14 drugs


These drugs work by blocking the effects of adrenaline on the heart and slowing down the heart rate. They are commonly used as a first line treatment to many arrhythmias such atrial fibrillation, PVCs and SVTs.

Sodium channel blockers

These drugs work by blocking sodium channels in the heart muscle and slowing down the electrical conduction. They are used as second line treatment to treat atrial and ventricular arrhythmias often in combination with betablockers.

Calcium channel blockers

These drugs work by blocking the entry of calcium into the heart muscle and slowing down the heart rate.

Potassium channel blockers

These drugs work by prolonging the duration of the heart's electrical signals and restoring a normal rhythm.

Antiarrhythmic drugs can be effective in treating heart rhythm disorders, but they also have advantages and disadvantages to consider:

  • They tend to be simple to use, help restore the normal rhythm without needing procedures
  • Can be taken orally or intravenously, making them convenient for patients who cannot undergo invasive procedures
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs often control the arrhythmia rather than cure it, so if the drug is stopped, the arrhythmia often comes back.
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs may not be effective for all types of arrhythmias, and the efficacy may vary a lot between different patients and medical conditions.
  • They can have side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, which can impact the patient’s daily life.
  • They can also interact sometimes with other medications, leading to complications or reduced efficacy.
  • Finally, some antiarrhythmic drugs can rarely cause dangerous arrhythmias or worsen the existing arrhythmias, leading to potentially life-threatening situations.
Patients should discuss with their heart rhythm doctor the best option to treat their arrhythmia and see if any alternative treatments are available. Your doctor will also discuss the potential risks and benefits of antiarrhythmic drugs and carefully monitor their symptoms and side effects while on the medication.
Fig 16 drugs


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