Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Options
Daily medicines taken by mouth may also be used to slow the irregular heartbeat. These medications may include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin. Medicines may also be used to keep atrial fibrillation from coming back. These medications may work well in many people, but they can have serious side effects. Many patients go back to atrial fibrillation, even while taking these medications.
Blood thinners — such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), apixaban, and dabigatran (Pradaxa) — reduce the risk of a blood clot traveling in the body (such as a stroke). Because these drugs increase the chance of bleeding, not everyone can use them. Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin or clopidogrel may also be prescribed. Your doctor will consider your age and other medical problems when deciding which drug is best.
To help get the heart back into normal rhythm right away, electrical cardioversion may be used. This may involve electrical shocks or special drugs given through the veins. They may be done as an emergency, or planned ahead of time.
A procedure called ablation can be used to treat areas in your heart that may be causing your heart rhythm problems. Radiofrequency or Cryoablation Techniques (freezing) are available.