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How Are Palpitations Treated?

Treatment for palpitations depends on their cause. Most palpitations are harmless and often go away on their own. In these cases, no treatment is needed.

Avoiding Triggers

Your palpitations may be harmless but bothersome. If so, your doctor may suggest avoiding things that trigger them. For examples, your doctor may advise you to:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress (including panic attacks) are a common cause of harmless palpitations. Relaxation exercises, yoga or tai chi, biofeedback or guided imagery, or aromatherapy may help you relax.
  • Avoid or limit stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol.
  • Avoid illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.
  • Avoid medicines that act as stimulants, such as cough and cold medicines and some herbal and nutritional supplements.

Treating Medical Conditions That May Cause Palpitations

Work with your doctor to control medical conditions that can cause palpitations, such as an overactive thyroid. If you're taking medicine that's causing palpitations, your doctor will try to find a different medicine for you.

If your palpitations are caused by an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), your doctor may recommend medicines or procedures to treat the problem. For more information, go to the Health Topics Arrhythmia article.

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Last Updated: July 1, 2011