Medications to Treat Other Complications

Anticoagulants

When the heart is not properly contracting or when the heart has an abnormal rhythm such as atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation, there is a risk of blood clots forming inside the heart. Anticoagulation medications, also known as blood thinners, prevent harmful blood clots from forming. These drugs must be carefully monitored because too much can cause abnormal bleeding. Other drugs such as aspirin and dipyridamole help to inhibit clot-forming blood cells (blood platelets).

Medications may include:

  • Warfarin
  • Heparin
  • Enoxaparin
  • Dalteparin
  • Aspirin
  • Dipyridamole

Anti-Arrhythmia Medications

Some children with cardiomyopathy are at risk of abnormal heart rhythms, such as premature beats and tachycardias which can be life-threatening. Anti-arrhythmia medications work to prevent or control these abnormalities and keep the heart beating at a regular rate. Certain beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers also are used to treat arrhythmias. The choice of anti-arrhythmia medication to use depends on the type of arrhythmia.

Medications may include:

  • Amiodarone
  • Procainamide
  • Sotalol
  • Mexiletine
  • Flecainide
  • Diltiazem
  • Lidocaine
  • Propranolol

Common side effects depend on the type of anti-arrhythmia medication used and may include worsening arrhythmias, chest pain, blurred vision, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, low blood sugar and gastrointestinal issues.

Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are used to slow the heartbeat and allow the heart to fill more completely when the heart muscle thickens and the outflow of blood from the heart is restricted. Often prescribed to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy symptoms, it also is used to control cardiac arrhythmias and to alleviate chest pain.

Medications may include:

  • Atenolol
  • Carvedilol
  • Metoprolol
  • Propranolol

Common side effects include dizziness, low heart rate, low blood pressure and fluid retention.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Referred to as calcium antagonists, these mediations improve the filling of the heart by reducing the stiffness of the heart muscle and relaxing blood vessels. They are used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy symptoms such as chest pain, arrhythmias and breathlessness caused by inadequate blood supply to the heart.

Medications may include:

  • Diltiazem
  • Verapamil
  • Amlodipine

Common side effects include slow heart rate and low blood pressure.

Metabolic Supplements

When the cause of cardiomyopathy is suspected or confirmed to be a metabolic disorder, special dietary supplements such as carnitine may be prescribed in addition to cardiac medications.

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