A Nasal Spray for Rapid Heartbeat Disorder Could Be Best Option for Self-Treatment, Study Shows


A carry-with-you nasal spray may be able to treat bouts of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), a type of arrhythmia that affects nearly two million Americans each year.

People who have PSVT — which is also known as supraventricular tachycardia — have temporary bouts of extremely rapid heart rate caused by extra electrical pathways between the heart’s upper and lower chambers.

“If patients can’t stop their rapid heartbeat on their own, they have to go to the emergency room, where they have to get an injection of a drug to stop their arrhythmia,” says James Ip, MD, director of cardiac pacing and implantable devices at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

The experimental nasal spray, a drug called etripamil, could offer an effective solution for these temporary occurrences that people can use in the moment, without medical supervision. The only current option is vagal maneuvers, which stimulate the vagus nerve through massage, coughing, gagging, finding the pulse in one’s neck and pulsing, or bearing down as if you’re having a bowel movement, per StatPearls. These movements can sometimes prompt the vagus nerve, which is a critical part of the parasympathetic nervous system, to slow heart rate.


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