Q: How is Ivabradine different from other regular heart medicines?
A: Ivabradine has a unique mechanism of action and should not be used in all patients. It acts on a specialized muscle that regulates the heart rate in our body (called the pacemaker) and reduces the heart rate. If you have to use Ivabradine, the heart should be in normal rhythm called the sinus rhythm (which means you should not have any irregular heartbeats or abnormal rhythms), your heart rate should not be abnormally low (not less than 70 beats per minute), and your heart is pumping lesser blood than what is safe (ejection fraction ≤ 35%).
Q: Is there anything else I need to know while taking Ivabradine?
A: While using Ivabradine, you may experience bright visions for brief moments (called luminous visual phenomena). This may be accompanied by colored flashes, multiple images, bright circles (halo), etc. These symptoms mostly occur when you start treatment with Ivabradine and will resolve in the first two months. Hence you are advised not to discontinue the medicine if you experience any visual symptoms within the first two months and inform your doctor if they persist beyond two months. Ivabradine has to be stopped if there is no improvement in symptoms within 3 months of starting this medicine. Inform your doctor if this applies to you. The dose of Ivabradine has to be reduced if your heart rate falls below 50 beats per minute. If it remains low and does not improve after decreasing the dose, the medicine may have to be discontinued.