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Common Heart Disease Drugs

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It may also be prescribed if the patient has atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat rhythm) to help slow down the heart rate.

Diuretics: Diuretics, commonly known as "water pills," cause the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the tissues and bloodstream into the urine. Getting rid of excess fluid makes it easier for your heart to pump. Diuretics are used to treat high blood pressure and reduce the swelling and water build-up caused by various medical problems, including heart failure. They also helps make breathing easier.

Inotropic Therapy: Inotropic therapy is used to stimulate an injured or weakened heart to pump harder to send blood through the body. It helps the force of the heart muscle's contractions and relaxes constricted blood vessels so blood can flow more smoothly. Inotropic therapy may also speed up the heart's rhythm.

Inotropic therapy is used in end-stage heart failure to help relieve and control heart failure symptoms. These medications are only used when others no longer control heart failure symptoms. 

Potassium or Magnesium: Potassium and magnesium are minerals that can be lost because of increased urination when taking diuretics.  Low levels in the body can be associated with abnormal heart rhythms.  Some patients take them as supplements as directed by their doctor.

Vasodilators: Vasodilators are used to treat heart failure and control high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily through the body. Vasodilators are prescribed for patients who cannot take ACE inhibitors.

Warfarin: Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication. "Anti" means "against," and "coagulant" means "causing blood clotting." Therefore, warfarin helps prevent clots from forming in the blood.

A person is prescribed warfarin because the body is making blood clots or the person has a medical condition known to promote unwanted blood clots. Blood clots can move to other parts of the body and cause serious medical problems. Warfarin will not dissolve a blood clot; over time, however, the blood clot may dissolve on its own. Warfarin may also prevent other clots from forming.

Be sure to ask your loved one's doctor if you have any questions about over-the-counter drugs or herbs, or the medications the patient has been prescribed.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on May 16, 2014

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