Info re Atrial Fibrillation; long and boring unless you have it.

This is mainly a young crowd on SDMB, but if you don’t suffer from A Fib, you may know somebody who does, for which this may have some interest.

Background: I’ve had it for some ten years, but it was controlled by Digoxin, with only occasional short bouts. Then back last December, began getting quite severe and frequent episodes that lasted 10-15 hours. One got so bad and lasted so long, went to the ER and got admitted to the hospital. My cardiologist showed up and started me on Flecainide. The next morning had very bad vertigo and other unpleasant symptoms, but they discharged me the next day. Felt horrible all the time, but figured it was a tradeoff for controlling the damn condition.

However, kept having long bouts on the average of very 2.5 days. Then got another bad session with tachycardia, so went back to ER, and again into hospital. I told the doc that it was bad enough to have the side effects, but the stuff was not helping anyway. So, she had me take a stress test to see if my heart could tolerate an even more (?) effective med. As I have done strenuous exercise daily for years, they found I was fine. Doc said the heart plumbing was fine, just the electrical system was haywire.

So, she prescribed the new med and discharged me. When I picked up the prescription, not only got the usual pharmacy dire warning about side effects, but also an FDA warning about it. It was bad enough to scare me off from taking it, as among other things, it noted that even if you discontinued it, the effects could last for months.

So, started doing online research. I found that there were several studies done in Europe about a supplement, an amino acid called Acetyl L-Carnitine. Almost no side effects and available without a prescription.

I stopped all meds, except the warfarin of course, and started taking these 500 mg capsules three times a day. It seemed to spread out the attacks longer, so upped it to four a day. Actually went 45 days without problems, but then began getting them more frequently again, still running around 12 hours each time. So, the upped it to five a day.

I really began to feel better. It not only helped with the A Fib, but seemed to reduce the number of double-beats I was having often. I’ve now gone 50 days without any episodes and feel good.

I spoke to my cardiologist and she said several of her patients have been trying it with good effect. She said the only reason she does not suggest it is that the FDA has not done any tests on it, so the docs are reluctant to recommend it without the Fed’s approval, but if it works, keep on with it.

I’m impressed with the stuff, so anybody who has severe episodes of A Fib may want to look into this.

I’m glad to hear that you found something that seems to be working well for you!