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

Atrial fibrillation: The latest treatment trends

More than one in six ischemic strokes can be traced to an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (afib). Blood-thinning drugs are typically used to prevent clot formation, but these carry risks of their own. Doctors now have newer and better drug and device options to help lessen afib stroke risk for more people. (Locked) More »

Statins may offer a long-term legacy benefit

Statins seem to have long-lasting heart benefits. Men who took a statin for five years during middle age had lower rates of heart attack and hospitalization for heart failure 20 years later compared with men who didn’t take the drugs.  More »

Lightheaded? Top 5 reasons you might feel woozy

Lightheadedness is a feeling of wooziness or faintness. It is commonly caused by dehydration, drug side effects, blood pressure drops, low blood sugar, heart disease, or stroke. It may help to have a drink of water or orange juice and then lie down. If symptoms are brief, one should report them to a doctor, because lightheadedness may recur due to an undiagnosed underlying problem. Symptoms that last more than 15 minutes call for emergency medical help. Lightheadedness is not the same as dizziness, which refers to feeling like the surroundings are spinning. More »

Muscle problems caused by statins: Can a genetic test reveal your risk?

A mail-order genetic test claims it can identify people at risk of developing muscle pain from taking a cholesterol-lowering statin. Using genetic material from a saliva sample, the test looks for gene variants that affect how statins are transported into the liver. About 25% of people have one of two copies of this variant. But the results apply only to a rare form of statin-induced muscle pain that affects about one in 1,000 people.  (Locked) More »

Why you may need a statin

Age can be the deciding factor in the decision to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Many women over 65 and most over 70 may benefit from using a statin. (Locked) More »

Antidote for blood thinner's side effect

The FDA has approved idarucizumab (Praxbind), which may be able to reverse the effects of dabigatran (Pradaxa), a newer type of blood thinner that's had a rare side effect of uncontrolled bleeding during surgery or accidents. More »

Ask the doctor: Medications that affect warfarin

I'm helping my mother, who is in her late 80s, keep track of her medications, as she can be a little forgetful. Her doctor just started her on warfarin, which I've heard can interact with many different medications. What are the most common ones? More »

Once-a-day blood pressure medication

If you can't remember to take the second dose of your blood pressure medication, ask your doctor about switching to a long-acting blood pressure drug that only needs to be taken once a day. (Locked) More »

Should you rethink high blood pressure treatment?

Early results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial suggest that aiming for a systolic (top) blood pressure reading of less than 120 mm Hg may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. More »