Managing Your Medicines

Updated:Feb 26,2014

Medication spilling out of bottle

If you have heart disease, medicine along with lifestyle changes may be part of your treatment plan to reduce the risk of future health problems. You may be taking many medicines. But four specific medicines used together can lower your risk of another cardiac event by at least one-third. No other treatment can make this claim. That's why it's important for you to understand your medicines and take them correctly.

The four medicines that work together to help your heart are:

  • Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or metoprolol): These drugs treat high blood pressure and some other heart conditions by reducing the heart rate and the workload of the heart.
  • Anti-platelet and anti-coagulant medicine (aspirin or aspirin substitutes such as clopidogrel): These medicines thin the blood to reduce the risk of clots. Patients who have had cardiac procedures such as angioplasty and stenting to open up their arteries need these drugs to help keep the arteries open.
  • ACE inhibitors (such as lisinopril or ramipril): This class of medicines treats high blood pressure and heart failure by interfering with the body's production of angiotensin, a chemical in the body that causes the arteries to constrict. Patients who can't take ACE inhibitors may be able to use angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).
  • Statins (such as atorvastatin or simvastatin): Medicines used to treat high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Your doctor may recommend other medicines for you. Be sure to tell all of your healthcare professionals about all the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements and herbal preparations.

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"This content was last reviewed on 09/22/2011."

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Know Your Medicines

Heart Insight: Know your medicines

Keeping track of your medicines can be overwhelming. Learn what you can do to take all your medicines safely and effectively in this free Digi-mag topic supplement from Heart Insight magazine or in PDF format. Or download the Heart Insight magazine iPad app to access along with all of our regular issues.

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