Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
My son and his meds
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My son and his meds

A year and  half ago my oldest son ( 6 at the time) was diagnosed with WPW Syndrome and SVT. During one of his "episodes" ( I don't know what else to call them) his heart monitor read his heart rate at 278 beats per minute. He was originally put on atenolol and after 11 months we noticed that his behavior had gotten much worse (even violent at times). His Ped. Cardiologist then put him on Sotalol. He takes a smaller dosages in the morning and a higher one at night. He does sot seem to be sleeping as well, his behavior is still bad and I recently learned that in school he stated that he was hearing voices and covered his ears and asked for them to stop. During his forst medication ( the atenolol) I was worried enough that I had him tested for ADD/ADHD. He has also seen a nuerologist and had some genetic testing that seems to have all turned out alright.  Is this normal?  Are the "hearing voices" a side affect or is something else wrong? Does anyone have any idea?  The truth is I miss my son!
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Dear Deadly Trio Mom,

One of the lesser known side effects of beta blockers, such as atenolol, is the unmasking of depression.  Sotalol, while not purely a beta blocker, can also do it.  Certainly, I am not a psychiatrist, so cannot make this diagnosis.  I am worried that his hearing voices may be more of an indication of more serious psychiatric disease.  There are other medications that can be used to prevent the SVT associated with WPW.  As well, it may be worthwhile to consider radiofrequency ablation of the extra electrical pathway that's causing the WPW, so that he does not need to be on any therapy for this.  However, I think that it woudl also be very important that he be seen by a child psychiatrist for further evaluation.
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