Antiarrhythmic drugs may be prescribed for people with cardiac arrhythmia including atrial fibrillation. These medications work to correct the rhythm of the heart. They restore normal heart rhythm by changing the electrical current that makes your heart beat. Antiarrhythmic drugs come in pill form and are typically used long-term. In emergent or urgent situations, they can be given intravenously. The most common medications in this class are:

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Flecainide (Tambocor)
  • Sotalol (Betapace)
  • Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
  • Ibutilide (Corvert), which can only be given through an IV
  • Procainamide
  • Propafenone (Rythmol)
  • Quinidine

While these medications can help correct an arrhythmia, there is also a risk that they can cause the arrhythmia to happen again or more often. This is called a “proarrhythmia”. If you develop a proarrhythmia while taking an antiarrhythmic drug, call your doctor right away.

If you have an arrhythmia, you may be prescribed more than one medication. You should know how these drugs may interact with each other. Tell your doctor about all medications you take to make sure they’re safe to use together, and check with your doctor before taking any new medications, supplements, or vitamins.