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Medication Options for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

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What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome?

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a type of dysautonomia characterized by a reduced circulation of blood when standing up from a reclining position.


Medication Options for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Medications, or a combination of medications, can prove to be helpful for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). No one treatment works for everyone, therefore, individualized treatment is essential. The following treatments may be viable options for individuals facing postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

Sodium chloride infusions are often a favorable treatment that can help reduce symptoms. POTS normally causes low blood pressure. The sodium infusions elevate the blood pressure by increasing the blood cell volume. Although time consuming, sodium infusions are proven to be cost-effective while producing very few side effects.

A corticosteroid can help with salt attrition associated with POTS. It can help by preventing the kidneys from flushing out large amounts of sodium. This is an oral medication that typically comes in pill form. A corticosteroid can also increase plasma volume. Salt tablets, taken alongside corticosteroids, may heighten their effectiveness. Headaches are a frequent side effect. Individuals should consult a physician should headaches become severe. Corticosteroids should only be taken as prescribed. Discontinuation should not be abrupt or without consultation from a physician.

Beta-blockers are medications known to reduce blood pressure by blocking the effects of epinephrine. This causes the heart to beat slower and with less force. For this reason, beta-blockers have proven to be a successful treatment for POTS. Beta-blockers combined with corticosteroids may provide additional effectiveness. A physician should proceed with caution when prescribing beta-blockers because POTS can cause hypotension. A sinus node blocker medication may be prescribed in place of a beta-blocker.

Vasoconstrictor medications which cause the narrowing of blood vessels, may also be prescribed as a treatment for POTS, as they reduce venous pooling. The dosage typically begins low and increase over a short period of time. Certain vasoconstrictor medications may be addictive or cause reduced blood volume; therefore, long-term usage is not recommended. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can improve symptoms.

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