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Must start taking 3 new drugs and scared to do it
alja66 posted:
I recently had an angiogram and it showed 40% blockage in one artery and calcium which can lead to plaque in other arteries. I also have atrial fibrillation and my cholesterol is borderline high. The doctor wants me to take Multaq, Lipitor and either Pradaxa, Coumadin or Xarelto (blood thinners). If anyone has taken any of these drugs, I would appreciate their comments. I am concerned about side effects. I have already decided not to take Multaq because of possible liver damage or failure. After researching the blood thinners I am leaning towards taking Coumadin. Thank you for any comments.
bobby75703 responded:
"If anyone has taken any of these drugs, I would appreciate their comments. I am concerned about side effects."

I think what you are looking for is consumer reviews from people who have have taken these drugs. WebMd has over 700 reviews from people who have taken Lipitor. Just scroll down and look to the right side of this page under "Related Drug reviews" Click there and see what other people say.
While I am familiar with the side effects of drugs like lipitor, I am not familiar with the other drugs you mentioned. Check WebMD on those, or if you want, is another excellent source for consumer drug reviews.
Keep us posted.
bobby75703 replied to bobby75703's response:
Here is another excellent review of drugs. Its called Mediguard. It polls thousands of users, then presents the data in easy to read pie charts.

Here is the page on Lipitor with 61,000 patient reviews:

billh99 responded:
AFIB can be very serious and lead to strokes. I know that the blood thinners can help.

But I have no idea of how much it helps verses a multaq or another meds that helps control heart rhythm.

If you have not seen one you might want to see an EP, that is a cardiologist that specializes in heart rhythm problems. Discuss your concerns.

While real, many of the listed side effects are fairly rare. Ask him how much he has seen in his practice. And how your total health affects the chance of a side effect. And if there are other options.
Haylen_WebMD_Staff replied to bobby75703's response:
Here is a direct link to the review section for a variety of medications and supplements:

WebMD Drugs & Medications A - Z
billh99 responded:
Here is a blog of lots of resources on AFIB.
alja66 replied to billh99's response:
Thank you for all of your replies and the information. I already saw an EP and he is the one that wants me to take Multaq (heart rhythm med). My regular cardiologist already told me that there are problems with the heart rhythm meds. At this point, my EP will have to convince to take a heart rhythm drug. I am on Dilitazem and have been for six years. While it slows the heart down it doesn't correct the Afib.
alja66 replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thank you. I do not like to take any medication because of the side effects.
elecbanker responded:
I had a heart attack 7 years ago and had a stent put in that same evening. A year later I was told they wanted to put in an defibulator in my chest because I was a high candidate for sudden death syndrome but once they got me on the table they found out I had a ventricular problems and ended up putting in an CRT-D (of which I had 2 of). A CRT-D is a pacemaker and defibulator in one device and for me the battery life is about 5 years. With that said I was also put on a variety of medications which included Coumadin, Lipitor, Ezetimibe, Digoxin, Potassium CL, Lisinopril, Carvedilol, Spironolactone, Furosemide and Ferrous Sulfate. About 9 months ago I asked my doctor about being put on Pradaxa and be taken off Coumadin since I was having blood work practically every week or other week and having been stuck that much the scarring became so bad that even butterfly needles hurt. I went on Pradaxa (and by the way it is very expensive) and was only on it for about 90 days when my heart doctor told me he was taking me off blood thinners (which was Pradaxa) and was placing me on one 325mg asprin tablet every evening. Since my heart attack they have tried all sorts of statin drugs but I have had nothing but bad side effects (tremendous leg cramping was one of them) staying on none of them more than a week. For a good while I was put on Niaspan and Colestipol HCL for cholesterol but that really hadn't lowers my numbers like they wanted. Finally last year my doctor suggested I try Crestor but take only 2.5mg every night. Unlike about 4 other statins I had tried, this low dosage hadn't been too bad on me. I periodically wake up with a cramp (usually behind the knee, calf muscle or thigh, but it doesn't last very long and the occurance is about once or twice a month). And my cholesterol numbers they seem happy with eventhough they want my bad cholesterol count below 100. For me Coumadin was very difficult to regulate because my blood was either too think or too thick which had me modifying doses very freqently. The most I ever got a bit of leeway on was over those 7 years, maybe 5 times I didn't have to get tested for 3 weeks. I am 61 years old work full time and also volunteer with Junior Achievement. I try to eat healthy and when at work I take the stairs or walk very briskly when I am going throughout a very large office complex to attend meetings. I have to tell you there really isn't anything that has doesn't have side effects but not all side effects impact everyone in the same way. Even asprin can cause internal bleeding and coumadin if not monitored can be deadly if you cut yourself and can't stop the bleeding or whatever. My suggestion to you is before you visit your doctor do some research yourself and discuss with him or her their thoughts (since they are the specialists) and then discuss yours. You can even have them write a script for your but not fill it until you maybe speak to someone about their experience taking the drug and go from there. I've always lived with the principal and informed my doctors that my health relationship with them is a give and take situation. It is my body and ultimately my decision on what I do; however if once my heart doctor recommends a drug or treatment and I buy into it, today I would not be alive if I was true to our plan of treatment. I see my primary physician and my heart specialist every 3 months along with seeing my CRT-D specialist who takes telemetry from the device, analyzes it and sends it off to my heart doctor. I hope this helps. And good luck.
Dirtyfacetrace responded:
I agree the multaq is just too scary. But it is used for the irregular heart beat and beta blockers are great for that and are usually the first line of choice or a calcium channel blocker. The lipator is fine and you should do great on it; you really need to eat a well balanced diet and talk to your doctor about exercising daily. I don't know anything about the X drug and coumadin is ok but you have to test a lot and it is really hard to get the INR theruaputic. I would go for the pradaxa; it is new but well studied and in the future it will be the drug everyone uses. It is always scary to start a new drug but I would recommend you talk to your doctor and make him give you the good bad and ugly.
bobby75703 replied to Dirtyfacetrace's response:
You know what I did that got rid of irregular heart beats and palpitations? I quit eating wheat.

While this may not be everyone's situation, it sure worked good for me.
tsigaras responded:
Hi, alja66! Just responding to let you know that I have been taking warfarin/coumadin for over 3 months now because I have atrial fibrillation. As you probably know, it can cause strokes and heart attacks. Well, I had refused to take warfarin for the first year I was diagnosed, and what a mistake I made! I saw my mother have a hemorrhagic nose bleed while on coumadin and it scared me! (That's why I refused it). When I had a sudden stroke in Nov. 2011, I had no choice but to take it if I didn't want another stroke. I am fine and go to the coumadin clinic every 2 weeks to check my INR, which should be between 2-3. Last month I started on Lipitor and have no problems. As for the Multaq, forget it. My cardiologist said I should take metoprolol and, again, I have no problems. Multaq is not a medicine for everyone. Research it online and make a decision. There have been too many people with liver problems while on it.
alja66 replied to tsigaras's response:
Hi, tsigaras. Thank you for your response. I am glad that are fine after the stroke. My sister had a stroke at age 59 and fortunately recovered. She was on coumadin after the stroke but was not monitered properly. She was on the wrong dose and like your mother had a hemorrhagic nose bleed she almost died from. She was also severly anemic. Thus, my fear of coumadin. I have been researching all of the drugs my doctor wants me take. I already made the decision not to take Multaq because of the liver problems. The only way to find out what my reaction to a drug will be is to take it. I have been on Diltiazem for six years but it does not always control the afib. I sometimes have to take a double dose for the afib to stop. I rather do that than take Multaq. My biggest problem with taking drugs is that my grandchildren live with my and I am their main caretaker. I have to be able to function on a daily basis. That is another reason I am afraid to take all of these drugs. On the other hand, I do not want to have a stroke. I am going to research Pradaxa more. I am not sure about Lipitor yet. My internist couldn't take it and had to switch to Crestor. At this point, I would rather have an ablation to get rid of the afib. I already had one for tachacardia.
alja66 replied to Dirtyfacetrace's response:
Dirtyfacetrace, I have been on a calcium channel blocker for six years and it does not always control the afib. I am going to discuss increasing my dose when I see my cardiologist this coming week. I sometimes have to take a double dose to control the afib. The doctor does not have a problem with me exercising. My internist could not take Lipitor and had to switch to Crestor. I guess it is something you have to try and see which one causes the least side effects. I am still not sure about the Pradaxa. Threre have been drugs that the FDA said were safe and they turned out not to be. Since Pradaxa is new I am going to research it some more before making a decision.
alja66 replied to bobby75703's response:
bobby75703 - You may have hit upon something. I know that I have 36 food allergies. There are days I do not afib at all and others when I have it several times a day. I may start a food diary to see if there is a correlation. I know stress will cause me to have afib. Also, if I do not have enough sleep. Since my sister has afib too, plus a rare heart condition I know that heart problems run in my family. For me, the afib is probably a combination of things. If food is partly to blame, and I can figure which foods are the culprits, elminating them would sure beat taking drugs.

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