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How is Pericarditis Treated?
Acute pericarditis treatment (sudden onset) may include medication for pain and inflammation, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen in large doses. Depending on the cause of your pericarditis, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic (for bacterial pericarditis) or an antifungal medication (for fungal pericarditis).
If your symptoms last longer than two weeks or recur over subsequent months, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug called colchicine in combination with the ibuprofen. Colchicine is an older and well-established anti-inflammatory drug that can help control the inflammation and prevent pericarditis from recurring weeks or even months later.
When high doses of ibuprofen are prescribed, your doctor may prescribe medications to offset gastrointestinal symptoms. If you are taking high doses of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you should be monitored with frequent follow-up appointments to evaluate changes in kidney or liver function.
Chronic Pericarditis Treatment
A small number of patients will develop chronic pericarditis, a condition that persists despite treatment, or recurrent pericarditis, a condition that comes back periodically. These pericarditis treatment patients may need to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or colchicine for several years, even when they are feeling well.
Previous treatment included the use of steroids such as prednisone; however, in many cases a dependency on the medication developed in order to prevent the return of symptoms. In addition, steroids can reactivate the original viral infection. Some patients may also become dependent on narcotics for pain control.
Pericarditis Treatment With Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are usually only used for severe inflammation that does not respond to milder medicines. Corticosteroids can produce unwanted side effects when they are used for prolonged periods of time. Because of this, patients taking this type of medication need close medical attention to ensure that no damage is done to vital organs, such as renal failure or liver complications. In some rare cases, corticosteroids may make pericarditis worse.
Pericarditis must be treated frequently as a multidisciplinary issue. Physicians from different specialties must consult each other for a better diagnosis, outlook and treatment.
The normal rhythm of the patient’s heartbeat can be disturbed in the presence of acute and chronic pericarditis; rare cases of severe disruption can cause death. However, most cases of pericarditis are mild – they clear up on their own, or with rest and simple treatment.
In other cases, more intense treatments are needed to prevent complications. Treatments may include medicines and, less often, procedures or surgery.
Pericarditis Treatment and Anxiety
Intense anxiety symptoms are common in both acute and chronic pericarditis. The pain, lack of sleep, and anxiety caused by this illness can lead to extreme arrhythmia and shortness of breath. It is important for friends and loved ones of the patient to remain calm and helpful throughout the situation, so the patient can endure the symptoms with the least amount of stress possible.
The patient should be under medical observance throughout the treatment of the acute episode, since every case is different and there are always risks of possible complications.
Getting prompt pericarditis treatment, following your treatment plan, and having ongoing medical care can prevent unwanted complications or repeated episodes. If you would like to read more, here is an excellent article from www.heart.org