Some medication used in treating certain conditions can have negative effects on the patient. This can be based on the fact that medications are manufactured with particular compounds, which the body might not work well with. Different people react differently to medication and in some cases, a patient’s body may reject some of the medication given. It is not an unnatural response as it can happen to anyone. It is therefore important that you are aware of what substances you might have an allergic reaction against. With that said, there are drugs which patients suffering from long QT syndrome should avoid. Mainly because they can worsen the situation by lengthening the QT interval leading to health complications associated with long QT syndrome.
What Are The Long QT Syndrome Medication Side Effects?
The medication side effects in people living with long QT syndrome vary from one patient to the other. The resulting side effects also depend on the specific medication which the patient has taken. There are those which cause dramatic responses while others have mild effects. LQTS is a treatable condition that can be managed not only by medications but by necessary lifestyle changes. The first step to improved living with long QT syndrome is avoiding any medication that can interfere with the normal heart rhythm. In addition to that, avoid drugs that will affect the flow of essential ions (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) in the body and those linked to sudden death.
The most imminent side effect of long QT syndrome medication is QT prolongation. That is lengthening the QT interval, which is the time required for the heart to repolarize. Other than that, some medication cause Torsades de Pointes (TdP), lower potassium, sodium and calcium levels in the body, and sudden death. Antiarrhythmic medications often lead to QT prolongation and ventricular arrhythmias including TdP. Antibiotic drugs are commonly associated with prolonged QT interval and TdP.
Macrolides increase myocardium action potential by dispersing electrical activity over the ventricular wall. Antifungal medication and antipsychotic agents interfere with potassium channels leading to delayed repolarization as well as prolonged QT interval. Antihistamines have pro-arrhythmic effects while tricyclic antidepressants interfere with potassium and sodium channels. This can lead to electrophysiological changes such as the widening of the QRS complex.
Medications used for Treating Long QT Syndrome
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a heart condition which causes increased and chaotic heartbeats. The increased rhythm of the heart might cause complications such as fainting spells and seizures. In a worst-case scenario, the heart can beat really fast leading to sudden death. This condition can be monitored by various medications which help reduce the QT interval. The common drugs used in treating LQTS include;
Beta-Blockers – they slow down the heart rate and lessen the risk of rapid heartbeats associated with LQTS.
Mexiletine – an anti-arrhythmic drug which helps shorten the QT interval and reduce the risk of long QT syndrome complications.
Fish Oil – contains healthy omega-3 fatty acid which has a wide variety of health benefits.
Spironolactone and Potassium – drugs which help the body retain potassium to improve the heart’s recharging system.
Drugs you Should Avoid if you are Suffering from Long QT Syndrome
There are different types of LQTS – about 15 forms – which are characterized by different gene mutations and require different treatment therapies. There are several types of medications which you should avoid if you have long QT syndrome. This is because they increase the risk of fast heart rhythms. Some of the medications include antipsychotics, different classes of antiarrhythmic drugs, antidepressants, antibiotics, and antihistamines. Also avoid medications for potassium loss, antifungal drugs, adrenaline or asthma medications, and drugs that cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Antihistamine to avoid are; Astemizole, Terfenadine, and Diphenhydramine.
Antibiotic medications to be avoided include; Erythromycin, Pentamidine, and Trimethoprim.
Psychotropic to evade include the following; Benzisoxazole, Diphenylbutylpiperidine, Phenothiazine, and tricyclic antidepressants.
Heart medication to avoid if you have long QT syndrome are antiarrhythmic drugs such as Quinidine, Duraquin, Quinaglute, Flecainide, Disopyramide, and amiodarone. Others include; Bepridil, Ibutilide, and Probucol.
Other drugs you should avoid are Chloroquine, Quinine, and Macrolides.
- Long QT Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
- How Serious is Long QT Syndrome?
- Is Long QT Syndrome a Genetic Disorder?
- What are the Home Remedies for Long QT Syndrome?