NYU Langone doctors may prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the walls of the heart’s lower left chamber, or ventricle, thicken, preventing it from filling with blood. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can obstruct blood flow to the body, raising blood pressure in the heart and, sometimes, causing heart rhythm disorders, such as ventricular fibrillation—a rapid and chaotic heartbeat that can be life threatening.
Medication can improve symptoms by reducing the obstruction of the left ventricle, stabilizing the heart’s rhythm, and preventing blood clots, which can occur when blood pools in the heart.
Some medications can worsen the symptoms of this type of cardiomyopathy. They include medications taken for hypertension, heart failure, kidney disease, benign prostate diseases, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, erectile dysfunction, and the common cold. It’s important to discuss your use of these medications with your heart specialist.
Most people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and obstruction are treated with medications that decrease the force of blood flow against the mitral valve. This helps reduce the left ventricular outflow obstruction of blood flow to the body, which occurs in two-thirds of people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Beta blockers decrease heart rate, reducing the heart’s workload. They prevent the worsening of obstruction that occurs with exercise, helping to decrease symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
These medications work by preventing the hormone adrenaline from increasing the heart rate in response to stress or exercise, also known as the “fight or flight” reaction.
Your doctor may prescribe disopyramide, which reduces the obstruction in the heart and other symptoms. It can also regulate heartbeat.
Calcium channel blockers work by slowing the absorption of calcium in the heart and blood vessel walls. They slow heart rate and may improve symptoms.
Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, help prevent blood clots, which can occur when blood that isn’t pumped to the body pools in the heart. Your doctor may prescribe them if you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm condition that increases the risk of stroke.
People who take anticoagulant medications must be monitored to ensure they are not at risk of excessive bleeding.
Antiarrhythmic medications help the heart beat normally by blocking irregular electrical activity. They can also help prevent abnormal heart rhythms caused by the thickening of the heart’s walls.
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