Antiarrhythmics are drugs that help control the heart arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is a condition in which abnormal electrical signals in the heart cause it to beat irregularly or too quickly. Antiarrhythmics can work in one of two ways: by suppressing the activity heart’s natural pacemaker (the sinoatrial node) or by slowing and regulating the transmission of fast electrical impulses in the conductive tissue of the heart. Antiarrhythmics include several classes of drugs such as sodium channel blockers, beta-blockers, potassium channel blockers, calcium channel blockers and digitalis (also called digoxin and digitoxin). The type of arrhythmia you have determines which medication you will be prescribed.
Some antiarrhythmics that are available are: Adenosine, Bretylium, Flecainide, Procainamide, Quinidine, Amiodarone, Disopyramide, Lignocaine, Propafenone, Sotalol.
Figure 1: Antiarrhythmics
Figure 2: Common types of antiarrhythmics.
Figure 3: Antiarrhythmics correct arrhythmias that cause the heart to beat too quickly.
Figure 4: Antiarrhythmics function by slowing AV node firing and slowing impulses in the conductive tissue of the heart.
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