There are a variety of drugs prescribed for patients with heart disease. It’s important for both patients living with heart disease and those who care for them to understand the prescribed medication, to follow the directions of usage, and to be able to recognize the possible side effects associated with the medicine. The drugs most commonly prescribed for heart disease include:
ACE Inhibitors: ACE inhibitors are a type of medication that dilates (widens) the blood vessels to improve the amount of blood the heart pumps. ACE inhibitors also increase blood flow, which will help decrease the amount of work the heart has to do. These drugs block some of the harmful substances (like angiotensin) that are produced as a result of heart failure. They also block some of the harmful responses of the endocrine system that may occur with heart failure.
Aldosterone Inhibitor: Spironolactone and eplerenone are potassium-sparing diuretics. They can be prescribed to reduce the swelling and water build-up caused by heart failure. Diuretics cause the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the tissues and blood into the urine.
In the past few years, they’ve been prescribed in low doses to improve heart failure symptoms that are still present despite use of other treatments. These drugs protect the heart by blocking a chemical (aldosterone) in the body that causes salt and fluid
build-up. This medication is used to treat patients with certain types of severe heart failure.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker (ARBs): ARBs are used to decrease blood pressure in people with heart failure. ARBs decrease certain chemicals that narrow the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily through your body. They also decrease certain chemicals that cause salt and fluid build-up in the body.
Currently, ARBs are usually prescribed when the patient cannot tolerate an ACE inhibitor.
Beta-Blockers: Beta-blockers block the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) which can improve the heart’s ability to perform. They also decrease the production of harmful substances produced by the body in response to heart failure.
Calcium Channel Blockers: Calcium channel blockers are prescribed to treat angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers affect the movement of calcium in the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, the drugs relax blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, while reducing its workload.
Calcium channel blockers are only used to treat heart failure caused by high blood pressure when other medications to lower blood pressure are ineffective. Certain calcium channel blockers are used for certain types of heart failure. Consult our doctor to see if one is right for you.
Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs: Cholesterol helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. But too much of it in your bloodstream can lead to coronary artery disease. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from dietary sources — animal-based foods like milk, eggs, and meat.
The information on the Patient Education pages is provided by WebMD.com,The American Heart Association, Ivillage.com, The Mayo Clinic and other acceptable Educational Web Sites. It is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.