In our Dallas heart center, elecrophysiologists use several medications to treat atrial fibrillation, including:
These are used in an effort to slow the heart rate down to a more normal level. Some examples of drug classes used to control the heart rate for patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) are beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers and cardiac glycosides (ex: digoxin).
Rhythm controlling medications
These medications are prescribed to maintain a normal rhythm by preventing atrial fibrillation relapses. Rhythm-controlling medications, or antiarrhythmic drugs, are divided into four different drug classes—Common drugs used to control the rhythm are flecainide (Tambacor), propafenone (Rythmol), amiodarone (Cordarone), dofetilide (Tikosyn), dronedarone (Multaq) and sotalol (Betapace).
Patients who experience atrial fibrillation are at high risk of developing a blood clot, and many will require medication to prevent clots from forming. AFib patients may be asked to take blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants), such as warfarin (Coumadin), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) or edoxaban (Savaysa). AFib patients may also be asked to take medications that inhibit platelet function, like aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticagrelor (Brilinta) or prasugrel (Effient).