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What Is Propafenone Used For?

Propafenone is prescribed to treat potentially serious heart rhythm problems in adults. It works by affecting certain electrical signals in the heart, which can help stabilize the heart rate and maintain a regular rhythm. There are also off-label uses for propafenone, such as treating irregular heart rhythms in children or treating Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome.

An Overview of Uses for Propafenone

Propafenone (Rythmol®) is a prescription antiarrhythmia medication. It is approved to treat certain types of irregular heartbeats known as ventricular arrhythmias. It is also approved to help maintain a normal heart rate in people with other types of arrhythmias known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation/flutter or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

Propafenone Use for Treating Ventricular Arrhythmias

An arrhythmia is an irregular or abnormal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias can occur in the upper or lower chambers of the heart. An arrhythmia that starts in the lower chambers of the heart, known as the ventricles, is called a ventricular arrhythmia. There are several different types of ventricular arrhythmias, the most common being:
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation.
Premature ventricular contractions are extra heartbeats that begin in the ventricles. Although this type of arrhythmia is relatively common, it is not usually a cause for concern and rarely causes symptoms. Therefore, premature ventricular contractions do not normally require treatment.
Ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation, on the other hand, are serious and potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. Ventricular tachycardia occurs when the ventricles beat fast, but in a regular fashion. Ventricular tachycardia that lasts for longer than a few seconds, or is sustained, can be dangerous because it could turn into ventricular fibrillation.
Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency. It occurs when the electrical signals controlling the ventricles are so disorganized that the ventricles quiver instead of beating normally. As a result, the ventricles are unable to pump blood throughout the body. Ventricular fibrillation must be treated right away to prevent death.
Propafenone is approved to treat life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, such as sustained ventricular tachycardia. This medication has not been shown to improve survival in people with arrhythmias. It should not be used in people who have less severe ventricular arrhythmias, such as premature ventricular contractions, even if they are experiencing symptoms.
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Propafenone Drug Information

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