Heart Medications

Given the many conditions that affect the heart, it's no surprise that hundreds of medications have been developed to treat heart disease and related conditions. Medications are available to:

·       lower cholesterol

·       lower blood pressure

·       slow the heart rate

·       stop abnormal heart rhythms

·       improve the force of heart contractions

·       improve circulation in the coronary arteries (nitrates and other anti-angina medications)

·       prevent blood from clotting (anticoagulants (also known as blood thinners) and antiplatelet agents)

·       break apart clots that have formed in an artery or vein (thrombolytics, also known as clot busters)

·       remove excess water from the body (diuretics, also known as water pills)

The development of these medications have helped dramatically decrease death rates from cardiovascular disease in the United States and other developed countries.

Heart Medications Articles

Does aspirin stop a heart attack?

Taking a regular-strength aspirin can stop an impending heart attack. The aspirin should not be enteric-coated, and the dose should be 325 milligrams.  (Locked) More »

Does it matter how you lower your cholesterol?

Certain cholesterol-lowering medications—namely, ezetimibe (Zetia) and drugs known as bile acid binders—also appear to be effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of serious cardiovascular events.  More »

Is my medication causing these side effects, or is it just aging?

Some signs of aging can be similar to medication side effects. For example, thinking skills decline in older age may be similar to the side effect of confusion from a group of medications called anticholinergics. To discern the difference, one should keep a chart or a log of all medications taken, and record the medication start date. If a side effect is noted within a few days or weeks of starting a medication, then it is more likely that the symptom is medication related.  (Locked) More »

Reminder: Don't skip blood pressure medication

Millions of older adults aren’t taking their blood pressure drugs as directed. Ways to combat adherence problems include asking a doctor for less expensive drugs, understanding what a medication is for, and reporting side effects.  More »

Preventing blood clots: Is warfarin still right for you?

People who take warfarin—long a mainstay for treating atrial fibrillation—may need to stay extra vigilant to make sure their blood levels of this drug stay in a safe but effective range. Warfarin works by blocking the production of substances in the blood known as clotting factors. Many common drugs, foods, and dietary supplements affect warfarin, so the same dose may cause either too much or too little anti-clotting effect at different times. And warfarin users who have health-related changes should stay in close contact with their doctors about possible additional blood testing.  (Locked) More »

Many older adults take unneeded blood pressure drugs

About 66% of adults over age 70 still take antihypertensive medication even though they now have low pressures, says a study from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. Researchers say this exposes adults to medication side effects like dizziness and falls.  More »

Daily aspirin for disease prevention: When do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Aspirin is known as a powerful painkiller and fever reducer. In addition, a daily low-dose aspirin (81 mg) dramatically reduces the risk of a second heart attack or certain types of stroke. Research also shows that aspirin might help fight colorectal cancer and possibly inhibit other cancers as well. However, aspirin can cause bleeding that can be dangerous for some people. New guidelines help doctors determine who is a good candidate for daily aspirin therapy.   More »