Do you know which medications you should avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Though most MVP sufferers are not aware of it, there are medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. That is, if you want to prevent MVP symptoms and complications.
When you have mitral prolapse, a number of medicine cabinet staples can have adverse physical effects. Some may cause clotting and bleeding. Others may keep your beta blockers and MVP medications from working. In extreme cases, certain drugs may pose a threat to your life.
Pain getting you down? Allergies interfering with your day to day activities? Before taking medication to remedy the problem, read the label very carefully and consider the potential side effects. If in doubt, contact your local pharmacist or healthcare provider for professional advice.
What are the medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
1. OTC pain relief drugs
Over-the-counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat aches and pain. However, when you have mitral valve prolapse, they may not be safe.
Drugs such as aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) can thin the blood and make the body retain fluid, increasing blood pressure. This raises your risk for a heart attack or stroke, especially if the dosage is high. The drugs can also aggravate MVP symptoms.
NSAIDs are medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse and heart valve disease. If you are on blood thinners for atrial fibrillation or take prescription drugs to treat high blood pressure, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you find an OTC pain medication that is safe to take.
2. Decongestant medications
Nasal decongestants are another type of medicine to avoid with MVP. Often taken to alleviate cold and flu symptoms, they can increase blood pressure and/or interfere with prescription drugs.
OTC decongestants contain pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine as an active ingredient. These drugs cause vasoconstriction and stimulate the central nervous system, which increases blood pressure and triggers/worsens MVP symptoms like angina, chest pain, and heart palpitations.
Generally, decongestants act by enhancing adrenaline, noradrenaline, and adrenergic activity in the body, with side effects that include anxiety and nervousness. In addition, some decongestant meds contain NSAIDs. This is why these are medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
3. Appetite suppressants
Be careful with weight loss medications if you have mitral prolapse. Certain appetite suppressants, in particular, have been known to both cause and exacerbate problems with the heart and its valves.
Dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine are two examples of appetite suppressants that cause problems in the heart. While the drugs were taken off the market some years ago, others such as phentermine, diethylpropion, and phendimetrazine are still widely available. These can have similar effects.
Drugs like phentermine stimulate the adrenergic nerves to stave off hunger. This can cause high blood pressure, palpitations, pain, and various other nervous system and MVP syndrome symptoms and heart problems. Conclusion: medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
4. Herbal medicines & supplements
Herbs may be natural, but not all of them are helpful. While some natural remedies can help manage MVP, many herbal medications can be more dangerous than conventional medicines.
Medications and supplements of the herbal variety do not undergo rigorous study or testing. They do not carry FDA approval, and reports of serious and even fatal interactions are not uncommon when combined with prescription heart medications like blood thinners and blood pressure drugs.
Some herbs may even cause problems with the heart and its valves. Herbal medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse and/or prescription drugs include ma huang (ephedra), ginseng, ginkgo biloba, alfalfa, St. John’s wort, saw palmetto, echinacea, yohimbine, bilberry, dong quai, and fenugreek.
5. Some antibiotics
People with MVP, heart valve disease, and those at risk for arrhythmia should proceed with caution when taking antibiotics, as some antibacterial medications can cause problems with the heart.
Antibiotic drugs such as azithromycin and levofloxacin can produce changes in the heart’s electrical system that may lead to arrhythmia. Some, like Z-pak, have even been linked to cardiac-related deaths. Amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin can also be dangerous, although the risks are reportedly lower.
In general, macrolide antibiotics are medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse and if you’re at an increased risk for developing arrhythmia. Those at highest risk include patients with long QT syndrome and people with a slower than normal heart rate and/or low potassium/magnesium levels.
Are there any other things to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Yes. Look out for medications that contain caffeine and other adrenaline-inducing stimulants. If you’re a woman, avoid birth control pills (especially if you smoke), as they increase the risk of blood clots.
Diet also plays a role when you have the MVP condition. In fact, patients can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms if they just know which foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Medications and diet aside, there are certain sports and exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
Ultimately, anything that has the potential to lower or increase blood pressure, destabilize heart and central nervous system function, and/or contradict your doctor-prescribed MVP treatment and recommendations should be avoided when a person has mitral valve prolapse.