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PVC's/PAC's
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PVC's/PAC's

I  am a female who has been struggling with heart palpitaions since I was about 23 yrs old I am now 35 (they started after my first child was born). Recently I have noticed an increase per day in the number I am having. I also have been diagnosed with panic attacks/anxiety (anxiety since 19 yrs old). I did have an holter done about one month ago it showed rare PAC's/PVC's with some sinus tachycardia. My MD wants me to start zoloft and feels this will decrease my symptoms. I am a bit nervous about starting the medication due to its possible s/e's of heart palpitations, tremors,fainting listed as possible s/e's. I know I am a very anxious person and have struggled many yrs with it which has landed me in the ER x 2.

My question is do you feel the zoloft will decrease the palps? And increase heart rate. (Also, I will have an echo this Friday).

Thanks.
Related Discussions
Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
One of my mentors told me once that the people who need SSRI (the class of medications as Zoloft) are the same people that are too anxious to take them.  I think it is worth trying and I often to talk to my patients about considering them.  Package inserts always list alarming or frightening side effects -- they have to.  The reality is that SSRIs are very well tolerated and can be very effective.  If they do increase your PVCs, yu can stop the medication and try a different one.  They have many different receptor affinities and there may be some that help and others that don't.  It might take a few tries to find one that does, but it is worth a try.  

The only way to know what it will do for your palps or heart rate is try them.  There is no way to know unless you try.

I hope this helps.  Good luck and thanks for posting.
25 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
i know how you feel with the increase of pvc/pac/flutters i have them all and when i get them i have no stress but after they start guess stress keeps them going. not sure about zolot but i do know many many pvc are ok it just makes you nuts hang inthere
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Avatar_n_tn
My wife was on anti-depressants for 10 years.  They did little good.  She finally found some information on the internet and a book called the MOOD CURE.  It looked at the chemical imbalance that existed in the body as the cause of depression and anxiety.  It sought to replenish these chemical imbalances through the correct amino acid supplements etc..   Most meds cover symptoms.  This book offered a cure and the chance to be off meds.  It worked.   She bought the supplements and started taking them.  And it worked in just weeks!   She is no longer suffering from depression.  No crazy side effects.  She sleeps better.  She still suffers from lack of energy at times, and I think it is partly due to being on meds for so many years.  But she doesn't have the aweful depression.

For ten years she went to doctors and psychiatrists.  They did nothing for her except fill her full of medications that messed up her body.

My suggestion is that you look for a doctor who doesn't prescribe medications as the main way to treat anxiety but looks to deal with the underlying cause of the anxiety.  There are doctors out there, but they look at medicine outside the typical medication regime.  Also find a counselor that can help sort through the pscyhological reasons for anxiety.  Deal with the cause, not the symptoms.

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your comments- they have helped.
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Avatar_n_tn
My doctor prescribed propranolol for constant skipped hearbeats.  I was too scared to take them and they stayed in my bag for months.  On a couple of occasions I took a tablet out and then threw it in the bin.   Eventually the skips got so bad I had to try something.  I very reluctantly started taking the tablets.  The skips haven't stopped but they have been subdued and my heart doesn't race so much when I get anxious.  I haven't grown another head.  I know the list of possible side effects are scarey but these have to be  listed on all medication.  You should trust your doctor.  Be brave.   You may find the tablets help and you don't have to carry on taking them if you don't want to.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I deep down inside know that the medication may help and I need to do what I think is best. I really appreciate you sharing your experience- it helps to know I am not alone.

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
SSRI's are believed to reduce platelet aggregation which means less clotting problems:

"SSRIs may reduce platelet aggregation. Many patients with depressive illness have dysregulation of the sympathoadrenal system as evidenced by an elevated plasma level of norepinephrine. Data suggest that increased catecholamine activity increases platelet activation and aggregation contributing to thrombus formation, and studies of both healthy depressed patients and depressed patients with IHD have documented increased platelet activation compared with nondepressed controls (18, 19). The SSRIs interfere with serotonin accumulation in platelets and SSRI treatment normalizes elevated indices of platelet activation in patients with depression and IHD."

Interesting to note that Wellbutrin is said to suppress 82% of PVC's in patients.

"Bupropion (Wellbutrin) caused a statistically significant 5 mm Hg increase (p < .01) in supine systolic and a 3 mm Hg (p < .005) increase in supine diastolic blood pressure and a statistically significant increase in orthostatic drop (3 mm Hg; p < .02). There was no significant effect observed on heart rate, ejection fraction, or cardiac conduction. However, bupropion did cause 82% suppression of ventricular premature depolarization (p < .005). Five patients had to be withdrawn from the study because of adverse effects, and 4 of the 5 cases the events were cardiovascular."

http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/67/Supplement_1/S54

A note though... just because Wellbutrin can suppress 82% of PVC's does not mean you're not going to face an increased risk of a heart attack. In fact, suppressing PVC's can cause more deaths than leaving PVCs alone in selected patients. It noted that 4 patients dropped out because of cardiovascular side effects (it didn't say what kind tho).

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Avatar_n_tn
Check out www.moodcure.com.

Try a natural approach first that doesn't bring all the negative side effects with it.

See a good counselor to deal with any psychological issues.

My wife took Wellburtrin for years.  It didn't do any good.  And it disturbed her sleeping.  She finally followed the regime of the mood cure book and it worked.  No side effects either.

I had a time where I was exhausted and the doctor thought I was depressed.  He prescribed Zoloft and it sent me into panic attacks.  I quicky went off of it.

I was then prescribed PAXIL.  That didn't work.  Made me agitated.  I finally gave it up and just got more rest and exercise.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I have severe panic disorder and depression. I also have unifocal ventricular premature beats and rare atrial premature beats.

I was hospitalised for a few weeks in a pysch ward.

The pyschs put me on Zoloft and I was terrified thinking it was going to make my missed beats worse. I was so scared I had to be forceably sedated. I ended up taking Zoloft and was awake for three days and nights.

I have had no other symptoms and my missed beats have not got worse. I have been on Zoloft now for 3 years.

Forget all the warnings and the doomsayers. If you have been prescribed it, take it. It helped and still helps me.
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Avatar_f_tn



As the doctor says, one SSRI will work nicely for one person, and not for another, so you just have to try them on, so to speak.  And speaking for myself, I get panic attacks every few years whether I need them or not.  They are invariably accompanied by lots of pvcs (10K a day confirmed by Holter), and for me, zoloft taken for a few months just takes care of the whole syndrome:  First the panic goes away (and fast, because I respond very quickly to zoloft), with  the result that I also become less aware of the odd beats.  In a couple of weeks, either the pvcs become less frequent or I just care less, and finally, after a month or two, they simply go away.  I have noticed no speeding up of my heart rate, btw.

I usually stay on the drug for a couple of months after that, because my shrink says it's best to let the hyperactive alarm system quiet down, and then I taper off.

Interestingly, I don't do as well on Paxil or Lexapro (the "son" of Celexa, which did once work quite well for me).

Anyhow, the point is that it's well worth a try, even for the medicine-phobics, because you can always quit the SSRI (tapering off--not suddenly), and there really are not any long-term evil effects.
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Avatar_n_tn
hello. almost everyday i've been having these heart skips that feel like my heart stops for 2 seconds and i cant breathe good and when i try to inhale it starts beating better but its really fast after..im getting really nervous feelings like im gonna have a heart attack or something..it also happens alot when im lying down..ive had a halter test and said they didnt really find anything but it doesnt happen everyday...but when it does it happens 20-30 times a day.. anybody have any info or helpful advice please send me an email  -  ***@****

thank you
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

I just started having constant PVCs last week.  I've had random ones occasionally for years (without knowing what they were), but last week I started having 10-15 per minute...that's roughly 15,000 - 20,000 per day.  I went to the ER and they didn't seem very concerned, other than my BP which peaked at 179/98 (probably from worrying about the PVCs).  They prescribed Metoprolol and I have taken it every day.  My BP is now in the normal range, but the PVCs continue unaffected by the meds.

For the past several days, I have had a very dull headache and some slight dizziness in addition to the constant PVCs.  I'm just wondering if anyone else has these additional symptoms.  Are they the result of a lack of blood flow to the brain from the PVCs, or are they a side effect of the Metoprolol?  Also, I've read that these PVCs are benign, but does that still hold true when I have thousands every day?  It seems like they could be causing other problems.  Any thoughts?

Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi! First of all, I just want to say how happy  I am that I found this website! I was still under the impression that this was an uncommon thing, and that I had some rare freaky disease! I also was diagnosed with panic disorder at the age of 19. I'm now 23. I had my daughter when I was 20, and my pac's increased big time! I was having panic attacks every day, and I was afraid to stay alone with my daughter because I didn't know what could/would happen if they got too bad. I have had multiple EKG's, an echo, holter moniter, and they are unable to find anything but the pac's which I guess to a normal person would be reasurring, but that doesn't really make me any more comfortable. the inital treatment was toprol(a beta blocker), and celexa. After about 3 months, I stopped the toprol, and my pac's signficantly decreased. I have noticed a great deal of change since I've been taking the celexa. I tried zoloft, and personally it made me feel kind of zoned out. The celexa sort of cleared my head, I feel more in tune to my every day life, and not so much the CRAZY things that I used to think about. I've been on it for about 1 1/2 years and I am thinking about weening myself off of it to see if it's made a permanant differance. I hope this helps you, and just remember that YOU'RE NOT ALONE!!

Ashley
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks 4 all the good advice/comments:)
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Avatar_n_tn
Last night I had a lot of gas. Went to bed and this morning when I turned onto my back I started having flutters in my chest and felt a rush and really anxious. So I got up and walked the dog to get the paper and the whole time the flutters and hard beats continued which caused more anxiety and more flutters. Checking my pulse I noticed a hard or extra beat followed by a pause. Now, I have had this several times in the past 20 years or so. Have been to the ER several times and had the holter etc.  Nothing except PVC/PAC's were ever diagnosed. So what to do?  I tried tenorman (spell check) once for about 3 days and when the problem went away I quit taking it.  This problem crops up at different times but seems to be worse with gas, stress or being extremely tired. I didn't go to the Dr. today (yet). Instead, I tried to relax, got a hug from my husband and took a shower. I still feel a little shakey (shaky) but haven't felt the skips for about an hour.   I don't know if this helps anyone but telling you about it makes me feel better.  I so wish someone would come up with a sound reason for this problem.  It is so uncomfortable but I hate complaining about it or thinking about it so much.  They (Doctors) say it isn't harmful but it sure isn't normal.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I enjoyed reading your stories and knowing I am not alone. I have pvc's and pac's on a regular basis but am reluctant to go on the meds. I have worn the holtor monitor several times in 24 hour increments and I always show some symptoms but sometimes the sensations are so much harder than others does anyone else feel like this? I literally feel like I am dying bc they some times last for an hour or more. it is so easy to let this control your life. I have 3 children and I feel like i may not be around for them. I had a myoview stress test this week t make sure I don't have any other issues, I am 34 and going out of my mind I rarely leave my house and especially not alone for fear of something happening! Am I nuts?
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, I have had constant PVCs for about a week and a half now.  My initial anxiety has diminished and I am resuming normal life...with a few less heartbeats.  I still have them all the time (I've probably had a good 10-15 PVCs in the time I've written these first few sentences), but I'm really getting used to them (do I have a choice?).  Sometimes they are more pronounced than other times, but I'm not really afraid of them anymore, thanks especially to reading this forum and realizing I'm not going to die...well not for a long time, I hope.  I'm 33 and plan on tripling that before I'm through.  I'm still going to see a cardiologist next week, however I have a feeling he's not going to say anything different than what I've read on these posts.  This is a great tool, and I hope others will take these comments to heart and relax...it's really true...these PVCs aren't going to kill you.
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61536_tn?1340701763
Zoloft might increase your palpitations, but then again, it might not.  By avoiding the medication, you are possibly missing out on a chance for something to help you feel a lot better for the fear of something that "might" happen.

As a student of psychology in college, I worked in the psych lab.  When we did experiments, we had to list *everything* that happened during them, whether it was a consequence of the actual experiment or not.  Similarly, during drug trials such as those for SSRI medications, ALL of the symptoms that subjects experience must be listed because that's just the way research is done to ensure the most accurate results.  Now bear in mind that most people in these trials already had symptoms of restlessness, anxiety, palpitations, etc.,  because that is exactly what Zoloft and other SSRIs are prescribed for.

I hope that helps ease your mind a little.  Hang in there.  I hope you can find something that works for you :)
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been having these skipped beats  for about a year now,  I am a 36 year old male.  It first started after drinking alcohol I woke up and felt them,  exactly like others here have described them,  a pause then a stronger beat afterwards.
I thought Vodka was the initial cause,  but in the past few months they show up without any alcohol consumption,  and they almost always last for 5-6 days straight and disapear only to come back again for the same amount of time.  I went to the cardiologist, an had a stress test and I am taking Toplrol XL,  he said not to worry about them,  but they are annoying especially when trying to study or sleep. I guess there is no cure for these things?  I never heard of them before a year ago, and wish I never had.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'am 36 yr old female & have been through an echo, stress tests, nuclear stress test, 24 hr monitor & 30 day monitor. I have had palpitations for the past year. They usually come a week b4 my period & drive me crazy. I was scared & nervous that something was "going to happen". They have found no underlying cause & all blood tests from A-Z are normal. I wish they would find a solution to this problem. Mobelk73 your not nuts..I refused to anything for a long time. I stopped doing everything I enjoyed because I feared that I was going to have a heart attack & I certainly didn't want my kids to be subjected to their mother freaking out because I had no clue what was going on. In the end I relaxed more enjoyed my kids & took a vacation that I denied myself. Whenever I get them, they still annoy me but its not going to beat me out of enjoying my life. I wish they never existed but it is what it is & have finally accepted that. They are not going to rule my life. I'm glad I found this site because I knew of no one who had this problem. After reading all the posts I felt better..so Thank You!!!! I wish everyone the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
RE: Zoloft.  A friend of mine had experienced severe anxiety, mostly over palpitations.  She was prescribed a beta-blocker and had an ablation procedure done, all of which left her with residual skipped beats.  Finally her cardiologist prescribed Zoloft and since being on the medication, she rarely if ever has palpitations, can drink coffee and wine and is basically without anxiety.  My friend's quality of life has drastically improved and she no longer struggles with the notion that the medication is bad and that she should be able to conquer her symptoms using alternative methods.  It worked very well for her.

My story is quite different.  I was prescribed Celexa for anxiety some years ago which caused me to have a severe anxiety reaction.  If you are already in a highly anxious state, SSRI's can exacerbate your symptoms temporarily (until the medication kicks in). I stayed on the medication at the advice of my doctor and was told that, in time, it would reduce my anxiety.  At the time I was having very mild palpitations.  Eventually, the medication did work and I had a significant reduction in anxiety for a couple of years.  About a year ago, I began having severe bouts of PVC's while trying to go off the Celexa.  Once I was completely off of it, my palpitations became so severe, I went back on the medication at a low dose and my symptoms improved.  They have now worsened again and I am considering going up on my medication.  However, I've been seeing a naturopath who, through blood tests, has found that I am anemic, vit B12 and D deficient, have low thyroid and am perimenopausal!  She suggests that my gluten sensitivity could be causing malabsorbtion of many vital nutrients needed to keep the heart and other organs functioning properly.  Has anyone explored the connection between gluten and heart rhythm problems? If so, I would love to hear your comments.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have suffered from anxiety and pvcs/pacs for many years and in the early days found the pvs/pacs very frightening. I have seen numerous doctors and tried lots of tablets such as propranalol and SSRIs. After a bout of two or three hundred pvcs each day for a number of weeks, I was asked to try a Beta Blocker called Bisoprolol. My pvcs are down to only a handfull a day. My anxiety problem is on going, but controled to an extent by Citalopram. CBD is also very useful for anxiety, because it gets you to think about things differently. A good diet and not to much alcohol are good ideas. It took me a long time to get used to the idea that my PVCs are not a serious problem. If the heart is deemed to be structurally sound, then the usual diagnosis is that they are benign. There are millions ofpeople all over the world who suffer with PVCs and PACs. Some people find them very debilitating and some people don't feel them at all. I recently met someone who worked in a cardiac unit who had pvcs every day for ten years, and then they completely disappeared.
Maybe you could try some different Beta Blockers to see if they make any difference. I think things have moved on since propranalol was introduced nearly thirty years ago.  Good Luck.  John.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Everyone,
I'm 40 yrs old. On Tuesday (today is Friday), I had a bad "flutter" and since then, my heart beat has been off. I can feel it in my pulse. I went to the emergency department, they told me it was PAC's. (confirmed by the heart monitor). I had blood tests, ekg and stuff and all was normal. It happens up to 20 times a minute sometimes but it has been constant since Tuesday. I'm scared to death. I went to my GP who has referred me to a cardiologist. I've read on the forums about others and it has comforted me somewhat. I have to keep moving though because they seem to lessen with exercise. I'm exhausted becasue I haven't stopped for 4 days. When I rest, it seems worse. Has anyone else been like this? It feels like I'm going to have a heart attack at any minute. I can't understand how this is benign because you can actually feel your heart doing something that's not normal. If you have stories like this, please let me know. It's comforting to see others with the same thing, even though I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I've read about drugs such as Atenenal that work, as well as magnesium supplements. Does anyone have any suggestions about what I could try? How long have yours lasted. Thank you so much for any help you can provide.
THanks,
Craig
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Everyone,
I'm 40 yrs old. On Tuesday (today is Friday), I had a bad "flutter" and since then, my heart beat has been off. I can feel it in my pulse. I went to the emergency department, they told me it was PAC's. (confirmed by the heart monitor). I had blood tests, ekg and stuff and all was normal. It happens up to 20 times a minute sometimes but it has been constant since Tuesday. I'm scared to death. I went to my GP who has referred me to a cardiologist. I've read on the forums about others and it has comforted me somewhat. I have to keep moving though because they seem to lessen with exercise. I'm exhausted becasue I haven't stopped for 4 days. When I rest, it seems worse. Has anyone else been like this? It feels like I'm going to have a heart attack at any minute. I can't understand how this is benign because you can actually feel your heart doing something that's not normal. If you have stories like this, please let me know. It's comforting to see others with the same thing, even though I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I've read about drugs such as Atenenal that work, as well as magnesium supplements. Does anyone have any suggestions about what I could try? How long have yours lasted. Thank you so much for any help you can provide.
THanks,
Craig
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84483_tn?1289941537
Hang in I know what you're going through I had PVCs non stop back in 2001 for up to 6 months, chances are it will subside or stop for awhile, everyone has them pac/pvcs,( though only few are aware of them) yours are pacs , symptoms from both are basically the same from what I'm told , I have both but only PVCs have been noted with symptoms.
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