Managing Your Medicines

If you have heart disease, medicine along with lifestyle changes may be part of your treatment plan to reduce the risk of future health problems. You may be taking many medicines. Certain medicines can greatly lower your risk of another cardiac event. That's why it's important for you to understand your medicines and take them correctly.

These medicines include:

  • Beta-blockers: These drugs treat high blood pressure and some other heart conditions by reducing the heart rate and the workload of the heart.

  • Antithrombotics (Anti-platelet/anti-coagulant medicines): These medicines are used to prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. Patients who have had cardiac procedures such as angioplasty and stenting to open up their arteries need these drugs to help keep the arteries open.

  • ACE inhibitors: This class of medicines treats high blood pressure and heart failure by interfering with the body's production of angiotensin, a chemical in the body that causes the arteries to constrict. Patients who can't take ACE inhibitors may be able to use angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

  • Statins: Medicines that help the body process and remove LDL (bad) cholesterol. This not only lowers cholesterol, but protects the inner lining of the arteries.

Your doctor may recommend other medicines for you. Be sure to tell all of your healthcare professionals about all the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements and herbal preparations.

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HealthForce Training Center provides high quality training and the latest American Heart Association programs customized for health and non-health care providers. Our mission is to provide a fun and stress free learning experience that can equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to be confident with their medical care and emergency situations.

AHA Disclaimer: The American Heart Association strongly promotes knowledge and proficiency in BLS, ACLS, and PALS and has developed instructional materials for this purpose. Use of these materials in an educational course does not represent course sponsorship by the American Heart Association. Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needed for AHA materials, do not represent income to the Association.

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