No medication for afib: I had my first Afib... - AF Association

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No medication for afib


I had my first Afib episode last week, I am 68 years old. All my test came back normal, I am seeing a cardiologist soon. I have no other health problems and do not want to take medications because of side effects. Is anyone on this blog not taking melds?

13 Replies

Hi Slattery

I am assuming that "all tests came back normal" means no other heart problems, of course there will be people here not taking meds, but if you have AF and are 68, then the huge risk you are running is stroke. And your electrophysiologist, (not cardiologist they look after the heart not it's electricals) will probably ask you to go onto an anti-coagulant.

It's your choice, but the risk is 5 times that of someone without AF and unless you have something we do not know about the side effects are smallish.

I do understand a reticence to take prescribed drugs, and I understand why you might feel that way, however my personal view is that I would rather be safe than sorry, and the thought of a stroke scares the bejazaz out of me, not dying through because of one, but rather NOT dying.

Be well


I think it would be a fair comment that none of us wants to take medicines because of the side effects - certainly I didn't. But the probable consequence of not being anti-coagulated may be a stroke, especially as we age.

During the first months after diagnosis the only medication I was taking was Apixaban (anti-coagulant) - no beta blockers or anti-arrhythmics - until all tests had been completed. Those were the most miserable of my life with random, nasty episodes of AF, SVT and jumps and bumps all over the place, no quality of life and scared sick.

I have gone from feeling like you do to someone who is aware of the side effects of drugs but welcomes using them to have a normal life again. You are right to inform yourself and consider your way forward so that you can make an informed decision together with your cardiologist.

Best wishes.

Sorry to hear that you have just started to have AF episodes. It took me a long time to realise that if you get AF occasionally, you have AF and it's a condition that is there and present even when the heart is not off being silly with a mind of its own. I felt I was a totally normal person for about 98% of the time and only had AF occasionally and therefore medication was not really appropriate. I know now that my view was misguided but at the time I felt I was being whooshed forwards twenty years to my mid eighties and it was all very unwelcome. I bitterly resented the intrusive way that medication started to rule my life and I am hugely grateful to the forum which has helped me to gain knowledge and put things in perspective. Yes, we are all concerned about the side effects of medication, but we have to balance that with the side effects of not taking medication.

Slattery in reply to Rellim296

Thank you all for this information. I am having a difficult time with taking any medication, but with age my body is changing, I have always been so healthy!! I will be seeing a specialist in Afib on July 6th, that is the best appointment I could get as he is a very busy doctor. In the mean time I a doing all that I can to stay calm as this is so scary for me. All I do is check my blood pressure and pulse all day. I am so happy you guys are here for support.

Rellim296 in reply to Slattery

It all seems very scary at first, but as you gain experience, you will come to feel that it is less daunting than it felt to start with.

I have had two episodes of AF Dec and Jan just gone. I was prescribed Apuxabsn. All my tests normal. I do take 4 mg Candesartsn. Low dose BP led but stopped the Apuxabsn with cardiologist agreement. I'm 65.

Do you mean Apixaban Elaine? I don't understand why you stopped it - blood pressure problems?


I currently am not taking any meds but do have flecanide and metoprolol to take "as needed" or "pill in pocket". EP said to take if a fib lasts longer than 30 min. Im 63, at 65 he will add anticoagulant. He said a fib is usually progressive so may end up needing regular meds but for now working on getting healthier ie diet, exercise , lose 50 lb etc. Praying the waters stay calm. It has only been 6 weeks of no meds so will see how it goes.

Hi Slattery, all tests normal probably means you have what is called Lone PAF, which is good news as you just may be able to do something without drugs or other hospital interventions. I would visit an experienced Alternative Practitioner now to see what can be done without prescription drugs e.g. supplements/lifestyle changes and at the same time learn as much as you can about those drugs.

If you take the Alternative route remember it takes much longer and more effort to rectify things but for me that's the way to go, even though due to much more AF I had to go onto the Flecainide drug to stabilise things first. I am a bit younger at 62 also and my CHADS score (re stroke risk) is 0 and my cardiologist is happy for me not to take anticoags.

Also as Ian and others will point out if you don't take anticoags there is an increased risk of a stroke. Various statistics are available but medical conditions are complicated and interrelated e.g. Anticoags= less stroke risk but also = more bleed/possible other medical issues and less incentive to change other habits which can improve your health overall.

Good luck, its a personal individual and complex decision but keep persevering and don't resign yourself to anything!


I'm not. My new (younger) Heart Doctor told me that the newer studies showed NO increase in stroke when you have Afib. Only older age increases your risk (plus other issues - smoking, overweight, etc.). So my surgeon and I have decided to live with it - no ablation or meds. But, of course, living with it has it's own problems - lightheadedness, weakness, erection problems, etc. But from what I have been reading, these are less problems than what the meds can give you. If you are "healthy" you have a choice - but check with your doc on how healthy (and what your risk level is) you really are.

- Rick Hyer. By the way - I cut-and-pasted some of my own research for you below - might help.


After 9 years of trying different foods and logging EVERYTHING I ate, I found sugar (and to a lesser degree, salt – i.e. dehydration) was the culprit. Doctors don't want to hear this - there is no money in telling patients to eat less sugar. Each person has a different sugar threshold - and it changes as you get older, so you need to count every gram of sugar you eat every day (including natural sugars in fruits, etc.). My tolerance level was 190 grams of sugar per day 8 years ago, 85 grams a year and a half ago, and 60 grams today, so AFIB episodes are more frequent and last longer. If you keep your intake of sugar below your threshold level your AFIB will not happen again (easier said than done of course). It's not the food - it's the sugar (or salt - see below) IN the food that's causing your problems. Try it and you will see - should only take you 1 or 2 months of trial-and-error to find your threshold level. And for the record - ALL sugars are treated the same (honey, refined, agave, natural sugars in fruits, etc.). I successfully triggered AFIB by eating a bunch of plums and peaches one day just to test it out.

Also, in addition to sugar, if you are dehydrated - this will trigger AFIB as well. It seems (but I have no proof of this) that a little uptick of salt in your blood is being treated the same as an uptick of sugar - both cause AFIB episodes. (I’m not a doctor – it may be the sugar in your muscles/organs and not in your blood, don’t know). In any case you have to keep hydrated, and not eat too much salt. The root problem is that our bodies are not processing sugar/salt properly and no doctor knows why, but the AFIB seems to be a symptom of this and not the primary problem, but medicine is not advanced enough to know the core reason that causes AFIB at this time. You can have a healthy heart but still have Afib – something inside us is triggering it when we eat too much sugar or get (even a little) dehydrated. Find out the reason for this and you will be a millionaire and make the cover of Time Magazine! Good luck! - Rick Hyer

creschendo in reply to Hidden

Hi sugarist - the suggestion that AF doesn’t increase the chance of stroke runs contrary to widely accepted medical opinion and, it goes without saying, could be quite dangerous advice if followed and it’s wrong. Does your new doctor have any links to peer-reviewed studies in respected medical journals to back up this claim ?

Hidden in reply to creschendo

Didn't ask him. But a second heart doctor told me the same thing when I mentioned it to him. So, yes, the newer studies are showing no additional risk to stroke - but that does NOT mean you should not take meds or blood thinners. It depends on what other meds you take and the stated of your health, and your age (I'm 70). So both docs recommended FOR ME to live with it - if I want. But remember, I am very healthy, not overweight, no meds, no diabetes, physically fit, etc. I don't have ANY of the risk factors when considering this. Check with your doc to see if you have any risk factors that would increase your chance of problems without meds or ablation. If your risk factors total zero like mine do, living with it without meds is an option to consider.


Hi, I am 71 and declined all except Eliquis apaxaban 5 mg.after a very recent but delayed diagnosis. I did actually read the contraindications for the other stuff and I had 3 good reasons not to take them. However I am taking the blood thinner ( apixaban) because I am afraid of blood clots ( even though I bruise very easily and that has already become worse) .However I am feeling better in my head which had a lot of little sore areas after my incident. I have no idea whether they were small blood clots or just nothing

significant , but my head did hurt for6 days and now it feels comfortable again. I do think it pays to read thoroughly ALL the details about what you might be swallowing and not to be afraid of querying them.

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