Medications

Depending on the diagnosis, some children with cardiomyopathy take several types of medications at different intervals during the day. It is important to have a clear understanding of what each prescribed drug does and its common side effects. You may want to discuss these questions with your child's physician:

  • What does the medicine do?
  • How and when should I give the medicine to my child?
  • What should I do if my child vomits after a dose?
  • What should I do if my child misses a dose?
  • What precautions or special instructions do I need to know (feeding issues, compatibility with other drugs, activity restrictions)?
  • What are common side effects?

Medication Intake Schedule

Doctors recommend working out a medication schedule that revolves around your child's sleep and meal times. This avoids waking them for medications and prevents vomiting after meals. Children with feeding tubes have more flexibility because medication can be directly inserted into the tube at any time.

Even though heart medications are not known to interfere with feedings, it is suggested that medication be given one hour before meals. It is not advised for parents to mix medications into liquids or food because a child may not finish their meal or develop an aversion to the food or not finish their meal. If your child vomits after taking his/her medication, do not give the medication again until the next scheduled dose unless otherwise instructed by a physician.

To keep track of your child’s schedule, it is helpful to have a chart indicating dosages and times on an erasable magnetic board or laminated piece of paper, which you or another caregiver can check off each time a dose is given to your child.

If your child is in daycare or school, your child’s condition and medication schedule should be communicated to the daycare supervisor or school nurse. More information about how to develop a health plan and work with your child’s school is downloadable off CCF’s Educational Materials page. CCFs Cardiomyopathy School Resource Kit provides a guidebook for parents as well as sample school plans and letters.

Side Effects

When your child receives a new medication or dosage, you should carefully monitor your child for possible side effects. If your child becomes ill, feeds poorly or vomits more than 2-3 feedings per day, it may mean that your child's medication needs to be adjusted. Low blood pressure and low heart rate are other indications that the dosage needs to be checked. Providing information about your child's heart rate as well as your observations to the cardiologist is valuable in determining the most effective medication and dosage for your child.

Defibrillators and Pacemakers

 

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