The problem with playing pharmacist

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June 21, 2019 - 4:08 PM

Dear Dr. Roach: My wife has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Doctors tried an electrical cardioversion, but it came back after a few days. She is taking metoprolol and Eliquis. We have read about the supplements red clover, turmeric, omega-3 and hawthorn. Should she discontinue the pharmaceuticals and take supplements instead? — J.C.

Answer: Please don’t do that, and let me explain why.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm. The goal of treating it is first to relieve symptoms, such as fast heart rate and dizziness, and second, to reduce the risk of stroke. Blood clots can form inside the heart when the atria are fibrillating (a chaotic, non-coordinated muscle movement). Those clots can break off and go into the blood vessels of the brain, causing cell death and loss of function in that part of the brain. That’s a stroke.

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