Common Cardiac MedicationsAnticoagulants(Also known as Blood Thinners)Commonly prescribed include:Dalteparin (Fragmin)Danaparoid (Orgaran)Enoxaparin (Lovenox)Heparin (various)Tinzaparin (Innohep)Warfarin (Coumadin)What the medication does:Decreases the clotting (coagulating) ability of the blood and are sometimes calledblood thinners, although they do not actually thin the blood. They do NOTdissolve existing blood clots. They are used to treat certain blood vessel, heart,and lung conditions.Reasons for taking the medication:Helps to prevent harmful clots from forming in the blood vessels and may preventthe clots frombecoming larger and causing more serious problems. Oftenprescribed to prevent first or recurrent strokeSide Effects:Aspirin is known to prevent more bleeding complications than clopidogrel orwarfarin, however, it may not block clotting as much as the other two. It also canupset the stomach. Clopidogrel could cause bleeding for up to 7-10 days whichmay require you to avoid certain dental work and operations. Warfarin alsoincreases bleeding and requires careful blood level monitoring by tests. It alsorequires you to limit some physical activities to reduce the chances of injury.For women who need anticoagulants during pregnancy, it is important to takespecial precautions. Warfarin can have significant risk on the fetus, especially inthe first trimester. Please consult with your doctor, both your cardiologist andobstetrician, about which medication would best fit your health and your fetus’health.
Antiplatelet AgentsCommonly prescribed include:AspirinTiclopidineClopidogrelDipyridamoleWhat the medication does:Antiplatelet Agents keep blood clots from formingby preventing bloodplateletsfrom stickingtogether.Reasons for taking the medication:Helps prevent clotting in patientswho have had a heart attack,unstable angina,ischemicstrokes, TIA (transient ischemicattacks, or “little strokes”) andotherforms of cardiovasculardisease. Usually prescribedpreventively, when plaquebuildupis evident but there is not yet alarge obstruction in the artery.Side effects:The most common minor side effects are bloating or gas. These problemsusually go away as the body adjusts to the drug and do not require medicaltreatment.Angiotensin-ConvertingEnzyme (ACE) InhibitorsCommonly prescribed include:Benazepril (Lotensin)Captopril (Capoten)Enalapril (Vasotec)Fosinopril (Monopril)Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)Moexipril (Univasc)Perindopril (Aceon)Quinapril (Accupril)Ramipril (Altace) andTrandolapril (Mavik)What the medication does:It expands blood vessels anddecreases resistance by loweringlevels ofangiotensin II. Allowsblood to flow more easily andmakes the hearts work easierormore efficient.
Reasons for taking the medication:Used to treat or improvesymptoms of cardiovascularconditions including highbloodpressure and heart failure.Side effects:The most common side effects are:Cough, elevated blood potassium levels, low blood pressure,dizziness,headache, drowsiness,weakness, abnormal taste (metallic or saltytaste), andrash.Angiotensin II ReceptorBlockers (or Inhibitors)(Also known as ARBs,Angiotensin-2 ReceptorAntagonists and AT-2)Commonly prescribed include:Candesartan (Atacand)Eprosartan (Teveten)Irbesartan (Avapro)Losartan (Cozaar)Telmisartan (Micardis) andValsartan (Diovan)What the medication does:Rather than loweringlevels of angiotensin II (as ACEinhibitors do), angiotensinIIreceptor blockers prevent thischemical from having anyeffects on the heart andbloodvessels; this keeps bloodpressure from rising.Reasons for taking the medication:Used to treat or improvesymptoms of cardiovascularconditions including highbloodpressure and heart failure.Side effects:Possible side effects may include:Headache, Dizziness, Diarrhea, Back and leg pain, Lightheadedness, Nasalcongestion.Beta Blockers(Also known as Beta-AdrenergicBlocking Agents)Commonly prescribed include:Acebutolol (Sectral)Atenolol (Tenormin)Betaxolol (Kerlone)Bisoprolol/
hydrochlorothiazide (Ziac)Bisoprolol (Zebeta)Carteolol (Cartrol)Metoprolol (Lopressor,Toprol XL)Nadolol (Corgard)Propranolol (Inderal)Sotalol (Betapace) andTimolol (Blocadren)What the medication does:Decreases the heart rate andcardiac output, which lowersblood pressure andmakes theheart beat more slowly and withless force.Reasons for taking the medication:It is used to lower blood pressure and with therapy for cardiacarrhythmias(abnormal heartrhythms) and in treating chestpain (angina).It is also used toprevent future heartattacks in patients who have hada heart attack.Possible side effects:Side effects may occur in taking beta blockers, including fatigue, cold hands,dizziness, and weakness. Beta blockers aren’t used in people with asthma, andrequire monitoring for people with diabetes.Calcium Channel Blockers(Also known as CalciumAntagonists or Calcium Blockers)Commonly prescribed include:Amlodipine (Norvasc, Lotrel)Bepridil (Vascor)Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac)Felodipine (Plendil)Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)Nimodipine (Nimotop)Nisoldipine (Sular) andVerapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)What the medication does:Interrupts the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vesselsand could decreasethe heart’s pumping strength and relax blood vessels.Reasons for taking the medication:It is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain (angina). This is caused byreduced blood supply to the heart muscle and some arrhythmias (abnormal heartrhythms).
Side effects:The most common side effects of calcium channel blockers included: Abdominalpain (stomach pain), constipation, drowsiness, fatigue, feelings of a rapidly orforcefully beating heart (palpitations), flushing or hot flashes, headaches, nausea,sore throat, and/or swelling or water retention in the hands, feet, or lower legs.Diuretics(Also known as Water Pills)Commonly prescribed include:Amiloride (Midamor)Bumetanide (Bumex)Chlorothiazide (Diuril)Chlorthalidone (Hygroton)Furosemide (Lasix)Hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix,Hydrodiuril)Indapamide (Lozol) andSpironolactone (Aldactone)What the medication does:This medication causes the body to rid itself of excess fluids and sodium throughurination and also helps to relieve the hearts workload. It decreases the buildupof fluid in the lungs and other parts of the body, such as the ankles and legs.Different diuretics remove fluid at varied rates and through different methods.Reasons for taking the medication:It is used to help lower blood pressure and to help reduce swelling (edema) fromexcess buildup of fluid in the body.Side Effects:The side effects of diuretics are common. The most important by far is that theyactually take too much fluid out of the body. Diuretics are designed to removesalt from the body, and with salt comes water and sometimes too much of adiuretic effect can cause a patient to become too dry. This can cause dizzinessand light-headedness, and that can eventually, if it gets bad enough, cause somedysfunction of your kidneys.Vasodilators
(Also known as Nitrates.Nitroglycerin tablets are a form of vasodilator)Commonly prescribed include:Isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil)Nesiritide (Natrecor)Hydralazine (Apresoline)NitratesMinoxidilWhat the medication does:Relaxes blood vessels andincreases the supply of bloodand oxygen to the heartwhilereducing its workload. Prescribedto patients who cannot tolerateACEinhibitors (another type ofmedicine that relaxes the bloodvessels.)This medicineis available in pills to be swallowed,chewable tablets and as a topicalapplication(cream).Reasons for taking the medication:Used to ease chest pain(angina).Side effects:Vasodilators may cause your heartbeat to become rapid. It also may cause heartpalpitations or chest pain. They may cause headaches, dizziness, headaches,nausea and vomiting, bloating, sore throat and joint pain and/or may experienceswollen feet or legs, swollen lymph nodes, fever, skin blisters or itching. Youalso may experience flushing and nasal congestion. Also, hair may grow fasterthan normal on the back, limbs and scalp.Digitalis Preparations(Also known as Digoxinand Digitoxin)Commonly prescribed include:LanoxinWhat the medication does:Increases the force of the hearts contractions, which can be beneficial in heartfailure and for irregular heart beats.Reasons for taking the medication:Used to relieve heart failure symptoms, especially when the patient isntresponding to ACE inhibitors and diuretics. Also slows certain types of irregularheartbeat (arrhythmias),particularly atrial fibrillation.Side effects:It is important that you are given the right dose of digoxin - your doctor or nursewill do regular blood tests to check this. If you are given too much digoxin you
may lose your appetite or develop nausea (feeling sick), headache or blurred /coloured vision.Occasionally, high levels of digoxin can cause abnormal heart rhythms whichcould make you experience palpitations or black outs - if you have either ofthese symptoms you should see your doctor.StatinsCommon types of cholesterolloweringdrugs includestatins,resins and nicotinic acid (niacin)gemfibrozilclofibrate.What the medication does:Various medications can lower blood cholesterol levels. They may be prescribedindividually orin combination with other drugs. They work in the body in differentways. Some affect the liver,some work in the intestines and some interrupt theformation of cholesterol from circulating in theblood. Pleaseseeamericanheart.org/cholesterol fordetailed information on thesecomplex drugs.Reasons for taking the medication:Used to lower LDL (”bad”)cholesterol, raise HDL(”good”) cholesterol andlowertriglyceride levels.Side effects:Most people who take statin drugs tolerate them very well but the most commonside effects include:Headache, difficulty sleeping, flushing of the skin, tenderness or weakness(myalgia), drowsiness, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, muscleachesabdominal cramping and/or pain, bloating and/or gas, constipation, and/orrash.Statins also carry warnings that memory loss, mental confusion, high bloodsugar, and type 2 diabetes are possible side effects. Its important to rememberthat statins may also interact with other medications you take.http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_304568.pdf