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Karenatmayo
@karenatmayo

Posts: 38
Joined: May 22, 2017

Atrial fibrillation and medication side effects

Posted by @karenatmayo, May 22, 2017

I have atrial fibrillation with very bothersome symptoms and started flecainide 3 weeks ago and sine then have had terrible side effects including dizziness, some nausea, unable to stand for more than a couple of minutes, extreme fatigue. I am now trying a different drug which has worse nausea side effects, some fatigue, etc. I am suffering with these side effects and there cannot return to work yet. Both, however, do relieve afib. Not sure whether to stick it out or explore other options (ablation) I am 68, female.

REPLY

@karenatmayo, Welcome to Mayo Connect, we are pleased that you have joined our online patient support group. I am sorry to hear of the side effects you mentioned in your post. While I’ve never been diagnosed with A-Fib, I do have a problem with rapid heartbeat. I started off with one med that left me with the same side-effects you mentioned and also a problem with excessive, busy dreaming at night (not nightmares, just very vivid dreams). I contacted my cardiologist and he switched me to a new med and it is working quite nicely without the side effects. Do you take the med with meals? Sometimes that can help. If you are still having problems, keep working with your doctor or look for a second opinion. There are lots of options out there.
I would also like to introduce you to one of our moderators @kanaazpereira who will be able to invite some of our other members into your conversation about treatments for A-Fib.
Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Teresa

Hi Theresa. Thanks for your note. I do take with meals and am trying to eat more often which does help some but difficult sometimes, especially when you’re not hungry! I am trying an alternate drug now, but it has similar side effects but with more nausea. Seeing doctor again this week. Take care and good luck with your rapid heartbeat. I am exploring magnesium as a possible supplement for that and general heart rhythm issues. Karen

@karenatmayo Good idea about the magnesium, I take it as well. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Teresa

My apologies for the misspelling of side “effects.” Cannot seem to correct it. I have stopped the propafenone for a-fib because of its devastating side effects, the most debilitating of which was nausea. (The first drug I tried was flecainide which I did not tolerate well.) I am also suffering from anemia and think I need to determine the cause of that before I go any further. I do have a new prescription for Multaq for the afib but am not optimistic. I am supposed to start it tomorrow but think I will have to wait until I find more out about my anemia and until my body recovers from the previous drug because I am still suffering. I don’t think my small body of 100 pounds can tolerate these drugs. Will be discussing ablation next week with cardiologist.

@karenatmayo You never need to apologize for grammar or punctuation at Connect – expressing feelings are more important than anything else. I can understand your problems with medications when you are small, I’m 111 pounds and need to watch dosages more carefully as well. I like the way you are going to doctors and yet thinking about the “big picture” as well. I wish you well as you have your appointment for an ablation. Keep in touch. Teresa

Ok, now I am literally sick from the new afib drug which I started yesterday and cardiologist was right -I went into afib while waiting to start new drug, still waiting for afib to stop. Drug has not worked yet but trying to figure if I want to put more poison in me because I feel so awful already. I have no appetite but need to eat because I am having an endoscopy on Tuesday to help determine the cause of my anemia. Feeling miserable from not eating, new drug, zero energy. Even considering emergency room but we’ll see.

Hi Karen,
I corrected the spelling of effects for you in the title of this discussion and modified it to be more specific, calling it “Atrial fibrillation and medication side effects”. Being specific helps bring people into the conversation. Through a search of Connect I found other members have also talked about medication side effects, specifically with flecainide. Please let me introduce you to @mac4life @jimana @2880 @prescott @topaz and @Weedy. I’d also like to bring @predictable into this discussion.

Karen, you may also be interested in reading and joining in these discussions as you work to manage a-fib and consider ablation:

– AFib questions http://mayocl.in/29iD8aJ
– Should I consider ablation? http://mayocl.in/28ReaNr

Best of luck with your appointment next week and getting to the root cause of the anemia so you can correct it. Please keep us posted.

Hello, @karenatmayo! Welcome to a discussion of a-fib, a topic that interests me greatly — not because my symptoms are racking my life, but because so many friends in my community and people who come to Mayo Connect for information are anxious about it. My heart has been arrhythmic for at least 15 years, but my a-fib diagnosis came less than 3 years ago in a EKG test during my annual physical. For the past 20 years, I have been treated for hypertension at moderate levels, thanks to wave after wave of medications tried and replaced as they failed to bring my blood pressure down enough to satisfy my medical teams. Fortunately, we found drugs to limit my blood pressure, and at the same time, medical science has accepted higher BP levels for senior senior citizens (I’m 81). A-fib threw a monkey wrench in the works and may be attributable to all of the experimentation I endured looking for a solution for my hypertension. But my a-fib symptoms are modest; I don’t consciously feel them, only see them on the meter every time I take my blood pressure. My medications for a-fib are Carvedilol (which slows the heart and reduces BP) and Coumadin, a “blood thinner” to head off blood clots.

Are your heart-beat symptoms very disturbing? Your use of three strong anti-arrhythmic drugs — Flecainide, Propafenone, and Dronedarone — suggests that your medical team is determined to bring your symptoms under better control. When you switched to another medication, were you advised to check with your doctor about phasing one down — rather than stopping abruptly — before taking a successor? With each of your meds, did your doctors advise you of problems to expect from other medications you are taking or from other disease symptoms? Have you asked your doctors about cardioversion or ablation (and where it might be focused)? What about “blood thinners?” Have they been suggested as a means of avoiding blood clots in your upper heart chamber(s)?

I ask these questions not to pry or violate your personal privacy. Please don’t answer any that intrude. I intend them as suggestions for your list of questions to put to your cardiology team the next time you meet, if you haven’t already gotten these answers. At the least, let us know how you’re doing in general so we can keep our conversation going as you work your way through these trying times.
Martin

@predictable

Hello, @karenatmayo! Welcome to a discussion of a-fib, a topic that interests me greatly — not because my symptoms are racking my life, but because so many friends in my community and people who come to Mayo Connect for information are anxious about it. My heart has been arrhythmic for at least 15 years, but my a-fib diagnosis came less than 3 years ago in a EKG test during my annual physical. For the past 20 years, I have been treated for hypertension at moderate levels, thanks to wave after wave of medications tried and replaced as they failed to bring my blood pressure down enough to satisfy my medical teams. Fortunately, we found drugs to limit my blood pressure, and at the same time, medical science has accepted higher BP levels for senior senior citizens (I’m 81). A-fib threw a monkey wrench in the works and may be attributable to all of the experimentation I endured looking for a solution for my hypertension. But my a-fib symptoms are modest; I don’t consciously feel them, only see them on the meter every time I take my blood pressure. My medications for a-fib are Carvedilol (which slows the heart and reduces BP) and Coumadin, a “blood thinner” to head off blood clots.

Are your heart-beat symptoms very disturbing? Your use of three strong anti-arrhythmic drugs — Flecainide, Propafenone, and Dronedarone — suggests that your medical team is determined to bring your symptoms under better control. When you switched to another medication, were you advised to check with your doctor about phasing one down — rather than stopping abruptly — before taking a successor? With each of your meds, did your doctors advise you of problems to expect from other medications you are taking or from other disease symptoms? Have you asked your doctors about cardioversion or ablation (and where it might be focused)? What about “blood thinners?” Have they been suggested as a means of avoiding blood clots in your upper heart chamber(s)?

I ask these questions not to pry or violate your personal privacy. Please don’t answer any that intrude. I intend them as suggestions for your list of questions to put to your cardiology team the next time you meet, if you haven’t already gotten these answers. At the least, let us know how you’re doing in general so we can keep our conversation going as you work your way through these trying times.
Martin

Jump to this post

Hello. I realize I never answered your questions. I appreciate you taking the time to send me questions. Since my post I have been to the hospital with afib episodes, and trying different drugs, all of which I could not tolerate. They tried cardio version in hospital but it did not work, but eventually went back into normal rhythm naturally. Since I also have anemia for unknown reasons ( no internal bleeding, etc.), I feel I should find out about that before I make any decisions. I feel that my poor body was subjected to too much by trying four drugs, (flecainide, Multaq, and others mentioned above) one at a time, which did not work for me. I temporarily went back on flacainide when I left hospital because at least it stops the afib but had to stop a few days ago because it made me so very ill. Now without looking much further, they are recommending an AV node ablation (because I am so small and thin and pretty much intolerant to all of the potent and powerful afib drugs) and a pacemaker which is very scary. I am sending records to Mayo for second opinion on that. I feel my poor 100 pound body has been subjected to so much abuse and poison with all of this experimentation so I must get myself a rest before I go any further. In the meantime I am off flecainide waiting nervously for an afib episode, (still on Xarelto and metoprolol) still feeling weak, fatigued, cannot function at all except sit on couch. This is not living. Six weeks ago I was working full time. Very depressed and scared.

I’ve been on flecainide for three years but it’s not working any longer. So trying to control heart rate instead of a new anti arrhythmic drug. Has anyone else tried this method? Also, may have to have tricuspid valve repair or replacement. Would like to hear if anyone has had this done. Thanks! bjanderson

Hello @bjanderson and @2752,

You may notice that I moved your discussion and combined it with this existing discussion on atrial fibrillation. I did this as I thought it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to other members who have discussed much of what you are experiencing.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

Here's a very informative video Q&A with Dr Carol Warnes and Dr. Joe Dearini which you may wish to view:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/webinar-topic-challenges-in-adult-congenital-heart-disease-what-the-patient-needs/

Besides members in this group, I’d also like to introduce you to a few members who’ve discussed problems with tricuspid valve and/or heart surgery; please meet @lyndylou @frande @mikkeleo @grandma47 @jackj @thankful. You can view their posts in these discussions:
– post tricuspid valve replacement https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-tricuspid-valve-replacement/
– Mitral Valve & Tricuspid valve regurgitation: when to see a cardiologist? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/i-was-just-diagnosised-with-mitral-valve-and-tricuspid-insufficiency-i-have/
– mitral/tricuspid valves https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mitraltricuspid-valves/

@2752, I'm glad to know you are doing well despite a leaky valve; has your cardiologist outlined any next-steps? @bjanderson, how have you been successfully controlling your heart rate? What concerns you about trying another antiarrhythmic?

@kanaazpereira

Hello @bjanderson and @2752,

You may notice that I moved your discussion and combined it with this existing discussion on atrial fibrillation. I did this as I thought it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to other members who have discussed much of what you are experiencing.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

Here's a very informative video Q&A with Dr Carol Warnes and Dr. Joe Dearini which you may wish to view:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/webinar-topic-challenges-in-adult-congenital-heart-disease-what-the-patient-needs/

Besides members in this group, I’d also like to introduce you to a few members who’ve discussed problems with tricuspid valve and/or heart surgery; please meet @lyndylou @frande @mikkeleo @grandma47 @jackj @thankful. You can view their posts in these discussions:
– post tricuspid valve replacement https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-tricuspid-valve-replacement/
– Mitral Valve & Tricuspid valve regurgitation: when to see a cardiologist? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/i-was-just-diagnosised-with-mitral-valve-and-tricuspid-insufficiency-i-have/
– mitral/tricuspid valves https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mitraltricuspid-valves/

@2752, I'm glad to know you are doing well despite a leaky valve; has your cardiologist outlined any next-steps? @bjanderson, how have you been successfully controlling your heart rate? What concerns you about trying another antiarrhythmic?

Jump to this post

Well, I was just to Mayo and found that tricuspid valve surgery is not for me, at the moment. Right now we are trying to control my heart rate. The flecainide wasn’t working so I’m hoping the metoprolol will do the trick.
The anti arrhythmic drugs have so many side effects and I don’t like the idea of using such potent drugs
I may not have a choice about that, in the future, but for now rate control will be the ticket!!

@kanaazpereira

Hello @bjanderson and @2752,

You may notice that I moved your discussion and combined it with this existing discussion on atrial fibrillation. I did this as I thought it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to other members who have discussed much of what you are experiencing.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

Here's a very informative video Q&A with Dr Carol Warnes and Dr. Joe Dearini which you may wish to view:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinar/webinar-topic-challenges-in-adult-congenital-heart-disease-what-the-patient-needs/

Besides members in this group, I’d also like to introduce you to a few members who’ve discussed problems with tricuspid valve and/or heart surgery; please meet @lyndylou @frande @mikkeleo @grandma47 @jackj @thankful. You can view their posts in these discussions:
– post tricuspid valve replacement https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-tricuspid-valve-replacement/
– Mitral Valve & Tricuspid valve regurgitation: when to see a cardiologist? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/i-was-just-diagnosised-with-mitral-valve-and-tricuspid-insufficiency-i-have/
– mitral/tricuspid valves https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mitraltricuspid-valves/

@2752, I'm glad to know you are doing well despite a leaky valve; has your cardiologist outlined any next-steps? @bjanderson, how have you been successfully controlling your heart rate? What concerns you about trying another antiarrhythmic?

Jump to this post

I've had A-Fib for about 4 years, take Metropolo & Pradaxa. They seem to work fine with me. I once was late in ordering Metropolo, didn't take it for a week & all the A-Fib symptoms reappeared. That convinced me that I needed the med. These meds make me tired (I think) so I take them with lunch and take my nap. I'm 76 yrs. Don

I take flecainide for afib. I started on 1 tablet morning and evening and found that the afib was controlled but my mood was moe grumpy. My doctor suggested I lower the dose which I have been doing. I have had an afib episode about every 3 months, but my mood improved. Has anyone else experienced this mood effect with flecainide?

@hopeful33250

@karenatmayo, Welcome to Mayo Connect, we are pleased that you have joined our online patient support group. I am sorry to hear of the side effects you mentioned in your post. While I’ve never been diagnosed with A-Fib, I do have a problem with rapid heartbeat. I started off with one med that left me with the same side-effects you mentioned and also a problem with excessive, busy dreaming at night (not nightmares, just very vivid dreams). I contacted my cardiologist and he switched me to a new med and it is working quite nicely without the side effects. Do you take the med with meals? Sometimes that can help. If you are still having problems, keep working with your doctor or look for a second opinion. There are lots of options out there.
I would also like to introduce you to one of our moderators @kanaazpereira who will be able to invite some of our other members into your conversation about treatments for A-Fib.
Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Teresa

Jump to this post

C@karenarmayo To the REPLY offered … Do … Please let us know the name of your AFib pills that seem to cause you little nausea by taking them. DILTIAZEM 240 mg morning and 120 mg at night to treat high pulse rate while my INF number is, today, happily 107/71 WARFARIN 4-6 mg weekly on varied days. This regimen is as a result of DIGOXIN 24 mg with the night pills was causing nausea, dishes, and a general feeling that I was indeed sicker with this extra boost . CARDILOGIST did not want a plan that would keep me only on DILTIAZEM for long lengths of time. So I feel more a less contained but for some dizziness when getting up out of bed for a while. My CARDIOLOGIST Has recommended that I see another (cardiologist) Doctor Electropysiologist for a second opinion about my pill plan and if this doctor can recommend yet another catheter ablation procedure to get things stablized. I understand that if this time the Cather ablation is successful the need for strong drugs would be unnecessary. My problem of today is learning about SECOND OPINION quest for alternate diagnosis and plan.

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