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when is medication needed?


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Gary Jackson Find out more about Gary Jackson
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  • when is medication needed?

    I know it depends on the particular doctor. but generally what is the point where medication is needed for HCM?
    After being asymptomatic until the past few years Im 45. The only symptoms I have is cheat pains and sob while walking for about 2 hours after eating.. The reason I ask is because the longer one is on meds the more likely that these meds will fail or cause other possible side affects

    Tha nk you

  • #2
    If you are having symptoms, then you should be on meds. As far as I know, the majority of drugs used to treat HCM do not have detrimental side effects. The first line drug therapy is beta blockers. These drugs are very safe. I do not know as much about calcium channel blockers, but I am not aware of any problems with long term use. They will help you feel better. There is no reason to suffer in silence.

    I have just started taking Norpace in addition to my beta blockers, and although there are side effects to the drug, they are minor and are not cumulative...i.e. they cease when the drug is stopped and they don't cause other ill affects.

    There are other reasons to take meds even when you don't have symptoms, esp. if you are obstructed. It is dangerous to allow a high gradient to continue even if you don't have symptoms because it can cause damage to the heart down the road.
    Daughter of Father with HCM
    Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
    Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
    ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
    Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.


    • #3
      thank you!!!!

      so the meds long term( which maybe determiental) outweight the slight symptoms?


      • #4
        I hear your concern loud and clear, but I think you are suffering under a misconception. Yes, drugs do have side effects – as does everything else you ingest. (Too many chocolates and your face may break out, too much food and your stomach may break out, too much booze and your brains may break out, etc, etc.)

        The equation is this; if you are having symptoms you can feel, or those you can’t feel but can be identified by a doctor, your heart is complaining about something. This ‘something’ can be detrimental in the short term, the long term, or both – or it just may reduce your enjoyment of life.

        To combat or alleviate this ‘something’ the first line of defense is drugs. Some of these drugs may be dangerous, some may be a problem to a very small segment of the population (allergic reaction), but most have caused very little problems to the user over many years of use, and have provided protection and help to masses of people.

        First, you need a doctor to evaluate the condition and suggest corrective measures. With drugs it is prudent to learn all the good and bad features of the medication – including what help you can hope to get, and what symptoms should alert you to a possible problem. Once the right drug or drugs are found for you, and the right dosages are established, and unwanted reactions are avoided - - well my friend you can go for years and years with no ill effects, but much benefit from them. Of course it is prudent to remain alert so that appropriate changes and modifications can be made as needed.

        Bottom line – not taking drugs may hurt you, and most prescribed drugs will help you. Your doctor is needed to guide you to the best drugs for you - at this time and in the future, but there is no one who can help you more to the best of possible solutions then you yourself – providing you learn how to care for and protect yourself. Learn all you can about your condition and the drugs you use.

        A very wise women once wrote – ‘Knowledge is Power.’ She is absolutely right.


        • #5
          Look at the issue of meds from the other side - the longer one is medicated the long the heart is relaxed and the longer the medication can offer relief from symptoms and avoid stress on the heart.

          Long term effects from Beta Blockers and Calcium Channel Blockers are not significant. Anti arrythmic drugs have significant side effects and should be avoided until they simply can not be anymore.

          Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
          YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

          Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
          lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
          Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
          Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
          Currently not obstructed
          Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


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