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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Premature Ventricular Contractions

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An indi vidual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 02/8/2000]
Question: I have recently developed an arrythmia, supraventricular premature contractions. I was placed on
atenolol 50mg 1/2 - 1 tabs qd, and am still experiencing the arrhythmia. When I asked my MD if any
combination of the meds I take could be a causitive factor the answer was "no." My PDR indicates
ventricular arrythmias as a rare side effect. Should I consider (MD supervised) tapering off the Prozac?
And what other (non tricyclic) antidepressant could I take that would not cause arrythmias? Thanks,
Wendy Stevens RN, BSN

Answer: Premature ventricular contractions are not usually treated unless they are symptomatic. Then beta blockers are usually the first drug tried. However, if your pulse slows, you will develop escape beats which feel PVCs but are not. So, establish this first. A lot of patients feel worse on the medications than they do with the extra beats. Extra sleep, no caffeine-chocolate-alcohol, often works. Calcium channel blockers like verapamil would usually be the next option. Prozac is not usually implicated in the cardiac problems you are having, I wouldn't switch this just right now.

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