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Common Heart Medications

There are many different medications that can help treat heart disease. Learn what type of medication you’re taking, what it treats, and how to take it safely. If you have questions about why you need a medication or how it works, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Medications are prescribed in just the right doses for your heart condition. They work only if you take them exactly as directed. So while your doctor can prescribe the best medications for you, it’s up to you to take them correctly.

Pharmacist handing woman bottle of pills over counter.

Keep a List

Keep a list of all your medications. Include your dosage and the time or times you take them. If any changes to your medication are made, be sure to update your list. And share this list with any new health care provider that you visit.

Common Types of Medication

  • ACE inhibitors treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

  • Antiarrhythmics help slow and regulate a fast or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

  • Anticoagulants help reduce the risk that a blood clot will form and block the artery (thrombosis).

  • Antihypertensives help treat high blood pressure (hypertension).

  • Aspirin (taken regularly in the right dosage) helps reduce blood clots.

  • Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers help treat high blood pressure. They may also help prevent chest pain (angina) and regulate an arrhythmia.

  • Digitalis/digoxin helps treat heart failure and may help an irregular heartbeat.

  • Diuretics help treat high blood pressure and heart failure. They are sometimes called water pills because they help your body get rid of excess water.

  • Lipid-lowering medications, such as statins, help control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

  • Nitrates help prevent and treat angina.

  • Vasodilators help blood flow more easily through the arteries. Calcium channel blockers and nitrates are vasodilators.

Take heart medications at the same time every day. This will keep the amount of medication in your bloodstream at a steady level.

Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sara, RN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/8/2014
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