NO AFIB FOR 4 YEARS and still taking medicine.

Posted , 11 users are following.

I never had any heart problems until in preperation fo a colonoscopy emptied my body of electrolytes and it was discovered that I had AFIB.

I was cardioverted and back into sinus four years ago. Since then Doctors have kept me on MULTAQ for three of those years and metoprolol for this year. My question is when can I stop taking meds for a non existant irregular heartbeat. I wore a Holter monitor recently and my cariologist said I do not have A Fib. I take warfarin regularly also. I just read that one should not take Metoprolol (Lopressor) if you have a slow heart beat BRADYCARDIA.

So The mecine I'm taking I presume is keeping my heartbeat under 60 beats per minute (I can go as low as 47 or low 50's). and then they Mayo Clinic internet info tells me not to take it. Also stoppingsuddenly can cause a stroke. So under doctors orders I've cut my dosage in half.

I feel I'm between a rock and a hard place.

So my big question if I don't have Afib for the last 4 years why am I still taking medecine.?

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  • Posted

    To be honest Eddie I have no idea! could your age be a factor? 
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    • Posted

      I'm 83 years old but in great shape and am still in business.

      Ihave no other illnesses and have had to switch cardiologists often because they just keep treating me as tough I still have Afib.

      Until this last one that just cut my Metprolol in half. But I'm still on coumadin and I don't see why if I don't have Afib why would I get a stroke or a blood clot. These medecines must have a detrimental affect sooner or later.

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  • Posted

    We were both in the same boat. I first had AF after having a heart valve replaced in May 2012. After cardioversion in Septembrer the surgeon said to stay with warfarin and amoiodarone for six months after being back in sinus rhythm but the cardiologist wanted me to stay on both forever. I stopped the amiodarone after six months as I was getting side effects from it. Warfarin was causing me to have painful joints so I stopped that after 15 months and went back to aspirin. When I told my GP he said that I was the third of his patients that week to have said that they had stopped taking warfarin.

    All was well until I had a colonoscopy last November. During it my BP dropped to 40/27 and my heart rate to 30 bpm. I felt OK during it but they were panicking giving me water and pumping drugs into me.

    They said it was either due to dehydration, the sedative or that the probe had stimulated my vagal nerve. 

    After a couple of days I became concious of a rapid and irregular heart beat. I had an ECG a few days later that confirmed AF, The cardiologist said that the probe stimulating the vagal nerve was the most likely cause. He said that I need not take amiodarone as a beta blocker would suffice along with warfarin. In January another cardiologist knowing of my previous amiodarone problems insisted that i take it or I would not get the cardioversion.

    Once again the amiodarone disturbed my equilibrium. After having a cardioversion on March 21st I went back into sinus rhythm and was told that in view of my slow heart rate I should stop the beta blocker but continue the amiodarone. I have stayed in sinus rhythm buy stopped the amiodarone after about a month. The warfarin is again giving me painful weight bearing joints.

    Like you I have a slow heart rate, usually in the 40's but can be as low as 36 in the morning. 

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    • Posted

      Hi, Thanks for your detailed description of your case. We are different because I didn't get my Afib due to any heart problem at all. However I don't know why you are not on MULTAC (dronederone) which is Amioderone but not as harmful because it has no Iodine. When I read about Amioderine on the internet and how dangerous it is they told me to take Multaq which I took safely for many years. Here again I read that contined use could affect my liver. So I switched to a doctor that substituted the Multaq with Metaprolol (Loppressor) which I have been on the last six months. Then after saying I want off of Lopressor my Doc cut me to half a pill morning and night. Since I still can't my heart rate out of the 50's I want to quit completely. Also I don't like urinating blood from time to time since I survived Bladder cancer and don't want any false signals like the last one that the doctor sais must have been from the coumadin. So because I want to quit them all I'm waiting for my next appointment and came upon this site and was looking to hear more similar cases of quitting all meds.

      I would insist in your case to switch to MULTAQ as soon as possible.

      I never experienced any side affect. Amioderone is a definite NONO.

      Ed Seeman

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    • Posted

      My AF was not caused by heart disease but as a consequence of my AVR. Hearts don't like being handled. Up to 60% of patients go into AF but many revert into sinus rhythm in a few days but I didn't. 

      Have you not been warned about MULTAQ?

      "July 22, 2011 -- If you're taking the atrial fibrillation drug Multaq, the FDA wants you to call your doctor right away.

      Don't stop taking the drug -- that could be dangerous. But the FDA wants patients to be aware that a clinical trial of Multaq, called PALLAS, was halted when the drug doubled the risk of death, stroke, and heart failure hospitalization in heart patients with permanent atrial fibrillation.

      Multaq is approved to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (intermittent), persistent atrial fibrillation, or atrial flutter. The big question -- now the subject of an FDA investigation -- is exactly how the PALLAS findings apply to current patients.

      Multaq was approved in 2009 after the ATHENA clinical trial showed it decreased deaths in patients with non-permanent atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.

      But this is now the fifth time the FDA has reported signals of possible risk from Multaq"

      Here in the UK NICE have put out warnings on Multaq[u]/Dronedarone.

      Metoprolol is a beta blocker would also slow my heart rate 

      "You should not use metoprolol if you have a serious heart problem (heart block, sick sinus syndrome, slow heart rate), severe circulation problems, severe heart failure, or a history of slow heart beats that caused fainting"

      Sorry  I don't why this is all underlined...[/u]

       

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  • Posted

    Hi Eddie. The fact that you have had no episodes of Afib, is probably because you are taking the medicine. That's what it does. I've gone years without an episode then been silly enough to take too much caffeine. Result:- Episode of Afib. Same goes for alcohol.And that's when Strokes can occur. But keep talking to your GP and Cardiologist. Hope this helps.
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    • Posted

      Hi Hugh,

      Thanks for the input. I took Multaq all those years for that exact reason. Then I read about it can eventually cause liver problems. I switched cardiologists and after explaining my fears i was switched to Lopressor twice a day. All these things have kept my heart beat in the 50's and 40's. Which is also not good for you. Normal is 60 and above.

      So after several months my Cardio doctor agreed to cut that to one half a day. I've tried that for several months and still no Afib and after wearing a holter monitor for 24 hours my doctor said "YOU DON'T HAVE AFIB." The point is I want to get my heart rate UP to NORMAL.

      so I'm thinking of going off of meds altogether. Also if I don't have any Afib recurrences why am I still on coumadin?

      I know it's a Gamble but so is taking medcine forever.

      I won't do anything until my next appointment.

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    • Posted

      You only had AF because of your colonoscopy. Presumably you present Cardio knows that.

      Do you think it was being drained of electrolytes that caused it. My cardio said that stimulating the vagal nerve is the usual cause. Cardioversion also involves stimulating the vagal nerve.

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  • Posted

    Know the rock and the hard place well.  The question is so reasonable.  If this afib was directly due to electroyte depletion, and you were electrocardioverted to normal sinus rhythm, I can see a short-term (4 months?), treatment with an anticoagulent because of the possibility of the conversion itself setting up a scenario for an embolism. 

    What we're struggling with here is not dissimilar.  Excruciating and fluctuating mid back pain, sent 44 year old female to the emergency department.  All tests normal.  ECG done at the time was normal. She was given iv morphine for the pain.  No diagnosis.  Sent home.  On the way home, she vomited.  Vomited more after getting home - 3 or 4 times.  Fell asleep for an hour and half.  Awoke, vomited.  Was in high tachycardia - 203 bpm, and heart rhythm was beyond description.  Back to the emergency room.

    ECG showed afib.  Blood tests were again normal.  CT scan normal.  IV diltiazem attempted for chemical cardioversion.  It didn't work, so she received electro cardioversion which put her in sinus rhythm.  Monitored for an hour after the procedure and sent home.  Told to take 81 mg of aspirin a day.

    A holter monitorwas worn for one week, showing PVCs only. Then, 5 days later, a cardiologist started Eliquis, 100 mg 2x per day because she had had the electrocardioversion. Told to take it for 30 days then stop it, and resume 81 mg aspirin 2x a day for life.  An echocardiogram showed a never-before diagnosed mild heart murmur, (mitral valve regurgitation). 

    Needless to say, there will be another consultation, but if, as some suggest, there is a vagal nerve issue that is solely responsible, then how long does a patient take any medication at all, whether aspirin at 81 mg x 2, or 325 mg., or something like Eliquis, or whatever.

    On drugs dot com the indications for use for MULTAQ, used to control heart rhythm, are "Use: To reduce the risk of cardiovascular hospitalization in patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL), with a recent episode of AF/AFL and associated cardiovascular risk factors (i.e., age greater than 70 years, hypertension, diabetes, prior cerebrovascular accident, left atrial diameter 50 mm or more, or left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] less than 40%), who are in sinus rhythm or who will be cardioverted."

    I don't think you mentioned how often you saw the cardiologist.  In this case, the cardiologist prescribed the 81 mg of aspirin 2x a day and said, "I'll see you in two years."  There are words here that I cannot print.  So, is it just a matter of covering liability?  If you get more answers - if anyone gets more, and better answers - it would be good to hear them.  This is hell.

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  • Posted

    If a holter monitor test is done regularaly -- maybe every 6 mos. to a year, and it doesn't show any afib, I would request my doc to take me off the meds.  And if he says no, ask him why not?  

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  • Posted

    Hi Eddie. I have the same questions about long term medicine. I had an incident with A Flutter a couple of months ago. I have always been healthy, until a few years ago when I started drinking enough Beer to float a battle ship. Thank God for the Medical community and medicine to help folks(Even igmo's that drink to much). BUT, I can't help but feel that as a whole, "the ones I've spoken with anyway", would like to keep me on meds the rest of my life whether I need them or not.

    I am thinking about weaning down a little at a time after a few more months and just watch carefully how my Heart reacts to it. Please let me(Us)know how you are doing, and what you find out as you deal with this. Many Thanks. Norm in Texas

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  • Posted

    Hi Eddie,

    I am 59 and had my first episode of afib a year and a half ago. At the ER they gave me diltiazin and I went back into sinus rhthym. Then they gave me diltiazin in pill form until I saw a cardiologist; but after two days I stopped bc I was very bloated. Since I had no other heart disease or risk factors, like yrself, they gave me a "pill in a pocket, (again diltiazin despite my reaction)," to take whenever my paroxysmal afib started up. (One doctor took me aside on one of these earlier visits and told me privately that with my naturally lowish pressure, it would be more dangerous for me to have my b.p. go too low, than to be in afib.

    I had a few more episodes that year but never took the meds ; my heart would go back to normal on its own. I also have never been on blood thinner, which was my insistence.

    I have not had afib for 8 months and take no meds whatsoever. My doc has told me Im her only patient not on meds

    As for whether or not I have been in afib without a rapid heartbeat and not been aware of it, when I had the afib episides I was symptomatic and would get queasy for about a half minute when it was coming on. I have not had this symptom for the 8 months and ck my pulse daily and it has been in the late 60s to mid 70s. I don't recommend doing what I've done for everybody, because like yourself, my heart has no other problems,but this one size fits all approach is wrong, in my opinion. I weighed the risks of not taking thinner w the risks of taking it and they were even (and very small.) My body never does well on any meds and I prefer to eat garlic, ginger, tumeric and drink green tea and chamomile as natural blood thinners. Interestingly, as a young woman I could not handle caffeine, esp coffee and wound up several times in the ER with bad palpitations 40 years before the afib. But now I drink green tea without any problems at all. I also don't drink over 2 per day. In addition I do eat magnesium rich foods such as almonds, canned mackerel and black beans. Wishing you and others good health and the continued courage to question and expect rational and intelligent answers.

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  • Posted

    Hi Eddie , I see now this post is 4 years old . I hope by know they’ve figured out how to help you. I had an afib event a year ago. It was not heart valve related and they don’t know what caused it. Yet here I am on all thes meds for afib, blood thinners, metoprolol, ditiazem. I had the Holter moniter and some other heart test, all negative. I take diovan for blood pressure and have for year. It’s controlled very well. I just don’t understand why I have to keep on with all this medication if the problem has resolved itself. I guess I am looking for an exsistance without so many pharmaceuticals involved. Best to you 
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