Drugs That Eliminate Dangerous Heart Beats (Antidysrhythmic Drugs)

Examples

Amiodarone - Amiodarone decreases dangerous heart rhythm disturbances. It is useful for treating irregular heartbeats from the lower part of the heart (ventricles) and in treating atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.

Lidocaine - Lidocaine decreases dangerous heart rhythm disturbances. It is most commonly used for this purpose in the setting of a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) or in conditions during which the heart muscle is not getting enough blood flow (cardiac ischemia). Lidocaine is also a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) and as such is used in a wide variety of procedures to decrease pain.

What are antidysrhythmic drugs?

These drugs help stop the heart from producing "abnormal" or dangerously irregular beats.

Why are they given?

The doctor determines that the patient is having abnormal heartbeats. These beats can cause the heart to beat too fast or too slow. They can be very dangerous or they may just make the patient feel a skipped heart beat. The doctor determines whether these medications might help.

How long are they used?

Some patients need these drugs for a short time only and other patients may require these medications indefinitely.

Do they have side effects?

These drugs do have side effects ranging from minor to serious. Occasionally these medications cause an increase in the heart rhythm abnormality.