Decongestant trigger AF?: Hi all, after 13... - AF Association

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Decongestant trigger AF?


Hi all, after 130 days since my last AF episode (I take 3 x 50mg of Flecanide Acetate daily) I had AF for just over 15 hours. Im fine now.

I had started taking a decongestant containing Phenylephrine Hydrochlorate (6.1mg per tablet). I took as directed on the packet for the two days before hand

After such a god run of not having AF Im searching for answers and the decongestant appears to have been the only difference. There seems to be some evidence on the web that Phenylephrine Hydrochlorate can cause heart arrhythmia.

Im interested to know if other people have experienced this side effect?

Thank you

14 Replies

Not personally but this is not uncommon. These sorts of drugs can also increase blood pressure I am told.

Yes, I cannot take any decongestants or bronchodilators - both make my heart race and pound.

Not a good idea to take Phenylephrine as it is known to cause arrhythmias in those predisposed.

Have not taken it myself as I read the leaflet etc beforehand. I can slip into AF without any extra help 🙄 !

I can't take any anti-histamines or decongestants. I use Sterimar instead which is essentially a salt water spray that you spray deep into your nose/nasal cavities. It certainly helps for me.

Guitar335 in reply to Drounding

Thank you for the suggestion thats really helpful

David1958 in reply to Guitar335

I used to get two sinus infections per year. End of winter, end of summer. Some years ago a coworker told me about a sinus rinse. I use the NeilMed which is a ceramic container that I can use in the microwave to boil the water (out of an aquasauna powered water filter) for 3 minutes. I add a packet of sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate to water after boiling. I let it cool overnight and do the rinse in the morning, every morning. I have not had a cold since. I occasionally see yellow phlegm in the Kleenex but that passes in a couple of days. I highly recommend it. Decongestants give me cotton mouth.

First time I took it it caused SVT, I wouldn’t dare take with AF!

I was told by my cardiologist to avoid decongestants for that reason.... hopefully you’ll be back in SR soon

My cardiologist says don’t take decongestants. My pharmacist says to steam and use a sinus rinse like Neilmed.

Not had this personally, but was told not to take them while on betablockers. I think they are a stimulant to the heart or some such.

Lemsip, Boots cold and flu remedy etc all contain Phenylephrine hydrochloride which has the potential to cause arrhythmia.

I am also on 150mg of flecainide and was taking the Boots cold and flu remedy when suffering a bad cold and within two days I was having AF attacks. As soon I stopped so did the AF. Liquorice also has the same effect on me.

Good luck

Guitar335 in reply to tunybgur

Thank you. Very helpful indeed.

Do you know what is in Liquorice that affects you?

tunybgur in reply to Guitar335

Black liquorice contains a compound that can lower your potassium levels. Lower potassium levels can cause abnormal heart arrhythmias. The FDA blame glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound derived from the liquorice root.

The biggest AF trigger for most of us though is good old stress, got to try and stay chilled.....easier said than done of course when your ticker is jumping about like a jack in the box!

Lemsips always caused palpitations with me. Just use good old lemon, honey and paracetamol. Recently I took a much stronger dose of Vitamin B12. This caused several sessions ofAF. GP not sure it was the B12 but it’s such a coincidence. Who knows?

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