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Causes of Heart Palpitations

Use this forum to discuss the cause of heart palpitations. If you have heart palpitations, please help others by sharing your experience. What would you tell someone about heart palpitations? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: I am scared
Date: 2/1/2009
I have ADHD and anxiety. my doc perscribed zoloft half a pill for 7 days. I took the first one 2 nights ago and I had a lot of the symptoms the next day. And I've had heart palpitations before I took the pill and they seem more noticeable with the pill. My parents are telling me to not worry about it but I am scared. plus I have to walk 1.7 miles every day for gym. What should I do? And is there any way I can get rid of the palpitations?

AskDocWeb: Heart palpitations can be a very scary thing to experience. It may help to learn all you can about what is happening so that you can reassure yourself that most of the time there really isn't anything to be concerned about, as long as your doctor knows about the palpitations. Remember that anxiety is a common cause of heart palpitations.

Subj: Panic attack heart palpitations
Date: 3/10/2009
I have been taking wellbutrin for 1 week 150mg. I was previously on Prozac 20mg but one night I had a Major "panic attack" heart palpitations esp which I had never had before. Now they still continue mild every night at about 1:00 am. Any suggestions?

AskDocWeb: Be sure to keep your doctor informed so that he can make changes in your meds that may be needed.

Subj: Having heart palpitations when taking Ibuprofen
Date: 4/1/2009
I have used Ibuprofen for years and never had any problems, but the last couple of months I've noticed that my heart starts beating funny within 15 minutes of taking Ibuprofen. I don't use caffine, or other stimulants, and I noticed other people have complained of having heart palpatations when taking Ibuprofen. Maybe someone should check into these complaints.

Subj: Supplements?
Date: 4/8/2009
I am not taking any medications. I have taken a few food supplements for a few days now, and I had a slight pain in my chest at the left side, and then I increased the dose after about 4 days and then at night if I were lying on my left side I could feel my heart pound in my chest. I was thinking that maybe my blood pressure is too high so I measured it and it was 114/66 and 50 beats/minute, so that wasn't it. Today I didn't take any supplement, and I think it is little better, but I will have to see if it will be all gone in a few days. I am not sure if it is due to the supplement or due to a sport game which I have participated in after a long time of not doing any sports. My supplements were: 5htp, tyrosine, methionine, selenium, lysine, calcium, magnesium, and multivitamins. Do you think that the supplements caused my palpitations? If so do you know if there is a way to fix the palpitations without stopping the supplements? Maybe to increase the dose more? Maybe add some other supplement? Maybe change the ratio between the ingredients?

AskDocWeb: We don't see any problem with the supplements that you are taking. With a heartbeat of 50 beats per minute we would look at the possibility of bradycardia, an abnormal condition in which the heart contracts steadily but at a rate of less than 60 beats a minute. The reduced blood flow may cause faintness, dizziness, and chest pain. There are two common herbs that might cause this, peppermint and black cohosh. Both are known to sometimes cause bradycardia.

Subj: Cymbalta
Date: 7/10/2009
My Dr. put me on Cymbalta 30 mg. for depression and anxiety. Another Dr. upped the dose to 60mg. at night, mainly for pain purposes, work comp. Dr. The 60mg. made my heart palpatations worse so I dropped my dose back down myself. I haven't seen my Dr. yet to tell her. I am glad I had some lower dose samples on hand.

Subj: Ambien
Date: 9/16/2009
I don't see Ambien on the list. It caused heart palpitations when I was taking it.

AskDocWeb: The list is composed of drugs that cause heart palpitations in three percent or more of the people who use them. There are many other drugs that cause heart palpitations at lesser rates and Ambien is one of them.

Subj: Marijuana
Date: 12/26/2009
I was getting palpitations nightly for a couple months. I'm normally against Marijuana but I tried some and have had 3 palpitations in 3 months. I might get a green card in future...

Date: 2/26/2010
I am on 1 mg of XANAX 1 to 4 times a day as needed. I still have sime left over. They are about 2/3 years old. Would that cause palpitations? I have been diagnoses has having PTSD. I am a very anxious, stressed person. Have been like this for a very long time due to personal problems. I have been seeing a pyschiatrist for 10 years

AskDocWeb: Please do NOT use any expired medication. The effects of doing so are unknown and potentially dangerous.

Subj: Palpitations
Date: 8/5/2010
My husband and I have been going through a ton of stuff lately with our house being sold. We are temporarily staying at our daughter's house and have bid on a house, which we should be closing on within the next month or so. We're both tired waiting for this process to be finalized. My question is, my husband called all freaked out thinking we may not get the house because the mortgage company and bank that actually owns the house are on 2 different schedules and he's worried we won't get the house because of a deadline that one of the banks put on us. I noticed after talking and calming my husband down that I was sitting relaxing and my heart did these palpitations beats. Didn't last more than maybe 20-30 seconds. I did take a nasal spray this morning (antihistamine) for allergies. I was trying to figure out what REALLY could be causing those palpitations. Occasionally I do get them. But I have a clean bill of health, as I had an EKG and a Stress Echo Cardiogram and the docs all said the ticker is outstanding. So ... are palpitations something to worry about, or should I just realize this was such a temporary thing that it's probably just brought on from stressful events? Thank you very much for your interest and I look forward to your reply.

AskDocWeb: There is no way to know if your palpitations are something to worry about until you check with your doctor. However, stress and anxiety are a common cause of heart palpitations. Always tell your doctor if you experience heart palpitations.

Subj: Hormone changes
Date: 8/30/2010
Hormone changes cause heart palps and heart skipping. I know because I have them and they suck and are scary.

AskDocWeb: While heart palpitations don't typically indicate a serious problem, they can occasionally result from an underlying condition like hyperthyroidism or arrhythmia. Worrying about heart palpitations can make them worse so discussing this with your doctor may help to put your mind at ease.

Subj: Xanax or citalopram?
Date: 9/4/2010
i have been taking xanax and citalopram for about 3 years can this cause heart palpations?

AskDocWeb: The citalopram shouldn't cause any heart palpitations but Xanax (alprazolam) could as that is one of the possible side effects of Xanax.

Subj: Thought I was going to die
Date: 10/6/2010
a year ago I took 2 sinuends and 1 antibiotic with coffee, fell asleep and woke up with my heart beating extremely fast. I thought I was goin 2 die!!! Was rushed 2 hospital and they gave me tablets 2 put under my tongue 2 evry 15 mins 4 about an hour and the doctor asked me if I was on Drugs!! Hav neva been the same since then when taking medication I get heart palpitations all the time. Any advice plz!

AskDocWeb: Only that you should rely on your local healthcare provider for advice. And remember, it is important to inform your doctor about your history of heart palpitations.

Subj: Xanax
Date: 2/11/2011
Does xanax cause heart palpitations? I notice them 2 or 3 times a day since I started it, only when needed 0.5 miligrams every 8 hours as needed. Had holter monitor and echo done a couple of months ago. Holter showed 1 P.A.C and sinus arrythimia. Doctor said nothing to worry about. I notice when I was on ativan 1 mg every 8 hours as needed, never seemed to notice heart palpitations. Just wandering could it be the xanax? Ativan to me seems to work better. I am 33 years old.

AskDocWeb: Yes, heart palpitations are a possible side effect of Xanax. Unfortunately they are also one of the withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly discontinued. Other possible symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax include memory loss, depression, and seizures. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may wean you off the medication slowly to allow time for your body to adjust.

Subj: Palpitations due to erythromycin
Date: 5/26/2011
How would you manage palpitations due to erythromycin?

AskDocWeb: Sorry Madaliso, this forum is limited to sharing information about the cause of heart palpitations.

Subj: Lasting effects of meds
Date: 10/7/2011
About 10-12 yrs ago I was prescribed many different meds for anxiety (ie; Xanax, welbutrin, paxil...) right around that time was when I first experienced palpitations and my first episode of svt. Could those meds have been a contributing factor to my svt as well or is it genetic? I just had my svt ablation 2 wks ago. It is now gone (fingers crossed) but I'm still experiencing palps, added beats and skipped beats. Med free for 5 yrs, no alcohol or tobacco use for 3 yrs. Could I still be experiencing lasting effects from the meds this long?? Thanks :) I am happy there is a forum of this nature!

AskDocWeb: Although all three of those drugs are known to cause heart palpitations in some people it is highly unlikely that the effects would persist very long after discontinuing them. And yes, they may have been contributing factors. Most cases of SVT (superventricular tachycardia) are genetic but SVT is a broad term that includes many forms of arrhythmia, some of which have other causes. Here is are f few of them:
  • Blocked arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease)
  • Changes to the heart's structure as from cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetes
  • Dietary supplements and herbal treatments
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Drinking too caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Electrical shock
  • High blood pressure
  • Medications
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Scarring of heart tissue (such as from a heart attack)
  • Smoking
  • Stress
You may find it reassuring to know that ablation provides a cure for the majority of SVT patients.

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