What is the role of medications in the treatment of pericardial effusion?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: William J Strimel, DO, FACP; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Most acute idiopathic or viral pericarditis occurrences are self-limited and respond to treatment with an NSAID. The corticosteroid prednisone may be administered for severe inflammatory pericardial effusions or when NSAID treatment has failed.

Research indicates that the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine, when used in combination with conventional therapy, is more effective at reducing the symptoms and recurrence of pericarditis than is conventional therapy alone. [30]

Autoimmune pericardial effusions may respond to treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. In general, selection of an agent depends on the severity of the patient's symptoms and the tolerability and adverse effect profiles of the medications.

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