Medication for Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations is when your heart is beating irregularly or rapidly. It may feel like your heart skips beats or that there is a fluttering in your chest. Heart palpitations can be frightening, but they do not necessarily mean that there is an underlying health problem. There are several medications that can be offered as a treatment for heart palpitations.

  1. Class I Drugs

    • Class I drugs for heart palpitations are also called sodium channel blockers. The medication has been used to treat arrhythmias, which is a disorder involving an irregular heartbeat, by blocking the transport of sodium to slow conduction in the heart. Unfortunately, Class 1 drugs can reduce function of the left ventricle and further aggravate arrhythmias. Examples of Class 1 drugs include quinidine, procainamide, disopyramide and flecainide.

    Class II Drugs

    • Class II drugs, such as altenol and metoprolol, are beta-blockers, which slow the heart rate by forcing the heart to contract and decreasing its sensitivity to adrenaline. Some of the side effects include fatigue and stomach upset. Beta-blockers are also used for high blood pressure, chest pain and even after a heart attack.

    Class III Drugs

    • Class III medications block potassium levels and work by making the recovery time of heart cells longer after the impulses are sent. It may prevent the electrical pathways from the arrhythmia or change it so that it can be slowed. Some Class III medications include amiodarone, sotalol and ibutilide.

    Class IV Drugs

    • Class IV drugs, such as diltazem and verapamil, block calcium by slowing the heart rate, blocking the transport of calcium and changing the conduction rates in the heart. These medications also dilate the blood vessels.


    • If medication does not reduce heart palpitations, a pacemaker may be surgically implanted underneath the skin of the collarbone. Pacemakers function by emitting the electrical impulses needed to maintain a regular heart rate or cause it to beat if there is no impulse generated by the heart.

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