Which antiarrhythmic drugs are best?

Know which antiarrhythmic drugs are effective

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A question and answer from our Atrial Fibrillation live chat.

Dr. Bruce Lindsay, Dr. Marc Gillinov, and Dr. David Van Wagoner from the Cleveland Clinic and Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of StopAfib.org answered many great questions about atrial fibrillation, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Question: In your estimation, which antiarrhythmic drugs are effective while having the least serious side effects? What are the long term effects on the body of these drugs if used for 15-20 years?

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Dr. Lindsay:  Each of the antiarrhythmic medications has certain risks. I cannot say which is best because our decision about which drug to use depends on underlying heart disease, whether the patient is prone to slow or very rapid rates, kidney function, liver function, and many other factors. Amiodarone is the only drug that has cumulative toxicity over the course of years. The other drugs can cause side effects, but they do not add up over time.

Look for more questions and answers from this informative web chat.  The transcript will be posted next week at http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/webchat/abnormal-rhythms.aspx

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  • Glenn Koogler

    Has a cryoblation on August 2, 2011. Over the last year, no antiarrhymia drug (sotalol or flecainide) has done me any good and 3 cardioversions did nothing to get me back in rythm (in rhythm for 4.5 mintes was best result). Therefore, I had a cryoblation on August 2, 2011 and have been in and out of rhythm for the last 6 weeks. The longest I have been in rhythm continuously was for 49 hours. I have now been out of rhythm for more than 72 hours straight. Since the ablation I have been on 500 mg. of tikosyn twice a day and now my EP wants me to add 125 mg. to that dosage (for a total of 1125/day). What do you think and what options should I discuss with my EP next Thursday during my next visit? Thanks. GHK

    • CC Heart

      Dear Glenn – I am going to email you directly regarding this question. Sorry it has taken me long to reply.