If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (Afib), you may be wondering what treatment options are available. One type of medication that is often prescribed for Afib is calcium blockers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what calcium blockers are, how they work, and what you can expect if you’re prescribed this type of medication.
What are Calcium Blockers?
Calcium blockers, also known as calcium channel blockers, are a type of medication that is often used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions, including Afib. These medications work by blocking calcium from entering the cells of the heart and blood vessels, which can help to relax the muscles and improve blood flow.
How do Calcium Blockers Work for Afib?
In patients with Afib, calcium blockers can help to slow down the heart rate and reduce the risk of blood clots. By blocking calcium from entering the cells of the heart, the medication can help to prevent the irregular heartbeat that is characteristic of Afib. Calcium blockers can also help to reduce the workload on the heart, which can improve overall heart function.
Types of Calcium Blockers
There are several different types of calcium blockers, including dihydropyridines and non-dihydropyridines. Dihydropyridines are often used to treat high blood pressure, while non-dihydropyridines are more commonly prescribed for heart conditions like Afib. Some of the most commonly prescribed non-dihydropyridines include verapamil and diltiazem.
How are Calcium Blockers Taken?
Calcium blockers are typically taken orally in the form of a tablet or capsule. The dosage and frequency of the medication will depend on the individual patient and their specific condition. It’s important to take calcium blockers exactly as prescribed by your doctor in order to get the most benefit from the medication.
Possible Side Effects
Like all medications, calcium blockers can cause side effects in some patients. Some of the most common side effects include dizziness, headaches, flushing, and nausea. In rare cases, more serious side effects like heart failure and liver problems can occur. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking calcium blockers, be sure to contact your doctor right away.
Before starting calcium blockers or any other medication, it’s important to discuss your medical history and any other medications or supplements you may be taking with your doctor. Calcium blockers can interact with other medications, including blood thinners, and may not be appropriate for patients with certain medical conditions.
Calcium blockers can be an effective treatment option for patients with Afib. By blocking calcium from entering the cells of the heart, these medications can help to reduce the risk of blood clots and improve overall heart function. If you’ve been prescribed calcium blockers for Afib, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and report any unusual symptoms or side effects. With the right treatment plan, many patients with Afib are able to manage their condition and lead healthy, active lives.