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Vicodin and PAF, etc.
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Vicodin and PAF, etc.

I have a 30 year history of PAF, PVCs, and PACs,  I currently take 200 mg of Flecainide 2 x day and 25 mg of atenolol.  In general I have good control.  However from time to time I go into a period were my heart has more arrthymias than usual.  It can be disturbing with all the symptoms that accompany PAF and PVCs.  Ususally these last for a few weeks and then I go into a period of relative calm.  Then they return. Pretty cyclical but not always in a predictable pattern.  

Recently I was starting into a period of AFIB and PVCs.  Nasty patch.  I happened to go to a doctor for injections in my knees.  I have OA in both knees and I get synvics shots.  They hurt like hell and the doc was kind enough to give me a prescription for Vicodin (7.5 mg).  I rarely have taken anything stronger than a tylenol in the past.  But my knees were really sore and I took one.  All along this period I was in and out of PVCs and some AFIB.  Well within a hour or so I feel great and all the heart symptoms are gone.  Nothing. I feel better than I have in years.  Did tons of stuff around the house and even my knees were feeling good.  I took one every day for a week and no heart issues.  So I stop.  I am thinking it must have been a coincidence....I started taking the pills right at the time I was entering into a calm period for my heart.   Once I stopped the heart issues returned.  I took another pill...they were gone.  

My question...what does this say about my PAF and PVCs?  Does it suggest a certain type or perhaps an alternative treatment to what I have been taking.  I know VIcodin is not something to take for my problem.  But I saved a few for Xmas.  An AFIB/PVC free Christmas.  What a gifr.
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Be very very careful on this one V .......you are taking a med that will "mask" your symtoms (symptoms) temporarily with the Vicoden....you may want to look at drug interactions and google out "PDF" or physicians desk reference to see what the doc would see w. the interaction between your heart meds and vicoden.  The pain killer is meant to make you feel good emotionally for a short period of time but again it may mask your symtoms (symptoms) which is not good......I know some heart docs give their patients diff. types of "calmers" like valium, adavan, xanax, etc. to calm their heart patients so they  don't take is over the top w. anxiety which sometimes makes it worse w. A Fib etc. but i would def. see a cardio for this not a GP (General Practice Doc). You don't want to self medicate in matters of the heart!!!
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84562_tn?1288307983
Thanks for the post.  I am well aware of the risks of Vicodin and I fully aware that it makes you feel good. I am not suggesting that Vicodin or any pain killer be considered a viable treatment for anything other than the temporary relief of pain.  My point was during the time that Vicodin was effective 4-6 hours and for up to 12 hours after I was symptom free.  Not masked symptoms.  I was in normal sinus rythym during this period of time when I should have been having episodes of mild AFIB and string of PVCs and PACs.  I had nothing.  Nada.  I felt energetic and had a feeling of well being.  I was able to accomplish a lot more than I would have around the house and at work because of the Vicodin.  This came at a good time as I have done a ton of stuff to do to prepare for Xmas that wouldn't have gotten done or would have been done poorly if I was having my heart issues. And once I stopped taking it my heart problems returned and I slowed down to my usual crawl.  As I said a few days later I took another one..just one and bang.  No symptoms and I was running around the house, singing, dancing, going out shopping, repairing and painting stuff, cleaning up, decorating, getting more accomplished in an afternoon than I would have in an entire weekend.   For the first time I can understand why people get hooked on this stuff.  And yes...I understand how horrible that is and have no intention of going down that road regardless of the benefits.

But back to my question...what does the action of Vicodin suggest about my PAF, PVCs?   I am not an anxious person.  I am wondering if the drug somehow effects electrical pathways or relaxes muscles or changes my blood chemistry in such a way that my symptoms go away. Maybe I am anxious subconsciously and that triggers the AFIB and the Vicodin calms me internally?  
I never self medicate and since I rarely use pain meds even for dental pain I never experienced this cause and effect in the past.  But it is intriquing and for me quite relevant.
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995271_tn?1312416925
I always like to read feedback like this.  Thanks for posting Veritas.    My PVCs go away when I'm sick, I can't understand why.  I've heard other reports of this as-well and would be a rich man if I could figure out what is causing this and put it in a pill.  I wonder what it is about these two that causes arrhythmias to stop suddenly.

Narcotics are central nervous system depressants. Narcotics (or opioids) work on five different opioid receptors located in the brain, the spinal cord, and the digestive tract.  

Quite often we hear about people correlating heart arrhythmia with digestive issues or "vagus nerve" a.k.a sympathetic nerve tone.

Narcotics have two effects.  Analgesic and Antitussive.  Analgesic properties can control pain, give a feeling of euphoria.  Antitussive means it will suppress involuntary things like coughing, can slow down the digestive process and even stop diarrhea by suppressing the rhythmic contractions of the intestines.  hmmm, sounds familiar right?

My most wild guess is that either the euphoria is having an effect or there is some effect on the sympathetic nervous system, perhaps the opioid is suppressing the sympathetic nervous system by a receptor antagonist action.  I would lean towards the latter.  

I wish this stuff would get more attention for study.
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84562_tn?1288307983
Thanks for the feedback.  The euphoria stuff while nice is probably not the main benefit I would guess.  Though in my reading I notice that a lot of PAF patients sometimes take Xanax or similar and that can reduce their symptoms.  That might be something I would like to try on a test basis to see if that is the mechanism at work.  Presumably a Xanax might work like a Vicodin in that respect?  

I like what you suggest about the other side of Vicodin...slowing things down by working on the sympathetic nervous system.  The question is...is there something that does that that is not habit forming, a controlled substance and without other side effects?

This could be a blind alley but having a few days where I felt symptom free and so good after years of feeling just OK has me on a quest.   Thanks again.

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995271_tn?1312416925
Hi Veritas, Xanax is a benzodiazepine.  It's a gaba receptor agonist, meaning it enhances gaba potential.  This is a much different MO than the Vicodin.  Very different classes of meds even though it might seem they are similar.    You could make some assumptions about the similar effects they have.

Xanax has officially listed heart palps as a side effect.

People build up tolerance to both of these meds within 2 to 3 days of use.

I think where it leads is the further implication of the sympathetic nervous system, as all the anecdotal feedback I've read all points in this direction.    No smoking gun yet, but a fruitful area for more study I think.

If you're like me you'll experiment more  :-)

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1137980_tn?1281289046
My heart doc just put me on Xanax last Tuesday after a mean episode of A Fib when i had to get converted.  I only take it PRN or as necessary when i am stressed or feel that funny pinching or flutter in my neck before the A Fib tries to kick its ugly self into my body.  I fought him on it because i don't want to take anything other than the .25 of Antenolol i take in the morning (denial???)  He also told me to take a half of one if i know i am heading into a stressful situation that could set it off (shopping at Best Buy during Christmas?  With 400 other people).  I tried a half of one at home that nite after the visit and i have no qualms now about the stuff.  Its a funny drug....you are totally you mentally and physically its just like a calm blocker in your mind and you don't type A it.  I am super glad he gave it to me,,,,i've only taken a half of a low dose 2X since my appt. and feel like a new girl.....sort of like a safety net......
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Avatar_m_tn
I have Afib and I also have a prescription for Vicodin for severe back pain.  My Afib is constantly noticable until about an hour after taking my Vicodin, and then the beating of my heart calms and stays on track 100%  I've been wondering about the connection for a long time.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have Afib and I also have a prescription for Vicodin for severe back pain.  My Afib is constantly noticable until about an hour after taking my Vicodin, and then the beating of my heart calms and stays on track 100%  I've been wondering about the connection for a long time.
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