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

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 »

Why you should always have aspirin on hand

An 81-milligram aspirin is recommended daily for people ages 50 through 69 who have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. It might also reduce colon cancer risk. A 325-milligram aspirin tablet can mitigate the effects of heart attack or stroke. (Locked) More »

Strategies for taking medications

Doctors may prescribe medications in hopes of helping a patient, but statistics show that at least half of all patients do not follow through with the treatment. Dr. Robert Schmerling explains why some people are choosing to skip taking medications and the possible results of not taking them. More »

Coping with statin side effects

PCKS9 inhibitors lower cholesterol and don’t have the same types of side effects as statins. However, there is no evidence that they decrease heart attacks and strokes the way statins do. PCSK9 inhibitors come with a very high price tag (about $15,000 per year). Some insurance companies, including Medicare, pay for the drug when treatment with statins is either inadequate or causes adverse effects. But it takes time to prove that a statin isn’t effective for an individual. (Locked) More »