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

Statins and women

Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women. Statins have been successful in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and heart-related deaths.  But for women, the advantages of these cholesterol-lowering drugs have not always been as clear as they are in men. (Locked) More »

No more routine liver tests for statin users

When cholesterol-lowering statins were first approved, people taking them were urged to have routine blood tests to watch for uncommon but serious liver-related side effects. The FDA now recommends such tests only when a person first starts taking a statin or if symptoms arise. (Locked) More »

Take the hassle out of taking warfarin

People who take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven, generic) should have periodic blood tests to make sure their blood is clotting correctly. For some, home monitoring or less frequent blood testing could make it easier to take this temperamental drug. Ultimately, you and your doctor should decide on an optimal warfarin-monitoring routine. Consider alterations in venue or frequency only if you have a six-month track record of being in range with few or no dosage adjustments. And remember that less frequent contact with the clinic or monitoring from home reduces the amount of potentially helpful advice you'd receive from health care providers. (Locked) More »

Blood clots: The good, the bad, and the deadly

Blood clots inside the body can be dangerous, especially if a clot blocks an artery supplying the heart, or forms in one location and then is carried through the bloodstream to a lung or the brain. Researchers are constantly looking for ways to prevent platelets from sticking together and to interrupt the clotting cascade at one or several of its stages. Two classes of drugs that accomplish those objectives — termed antiplatelets and anticoagulants, respectively — are frequently called blood thinners. If you already have cardiovascular disease or compelling risk factors for it, you may already be taking one or more of these anticlotting drugs. If you're not, ask your doctor whether you should be. (Locked) More »

Three (more) cheers for statins

A study boosts support for the ability of statins to help clear arteries of plaque, while two others reaffirm the drugs' safety. Considered together, these three studies should make most statin users and their doctors even more confident about using these drugs over the long haul. More »

Another warfarin alternative for stroke prevention in people with a-fib

Xarelto and Pradaxa offer alternatives to warfarin. While the two new drugs are more convenient to use and seem less likely to cause brain bleeding, only time will tell whether unforeseen side effects and risks crop up as more people use them. They are also more expensive than warfarin. People currently on warfarin who are thinking about switching and those with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation who need to take a blood thinner should have a comprehensive conversation with their doctors about this important but very personal choice. If you do opt for one of the new drugs, pay attention to any future reports of adverse effects. (Locked) More »