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Heart Disease Health Center

Heart Disease Medication Tips

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Medication needs for heart disease vary from person to person. Once a doctor finds the best drugs to relieve a person's heart disease symptoms and improve his or her sense of well being, it's important for the patient to take the medications regularly. If you are caring for a patient with heart disease, you may need to remind him or her when it's time to take different medications, or you may actually need to give out the medication when it's time to be taken. The following guidelines are helpful for heart disease patients and their caregivers.

Day-to-Day Heart Medication Tips

  • Know the names, dosages, and side effects of drugs and what they are used for. Always keep a list of the medications with you.
  • Medications need to be taken as scheduled, at the same time every day. Your heart drugs should not be stopped or changed without first consulting with your doctor. Continue taking the medication even if you feel better; stopping medications suddenly can make your condition worse.
  • Develop a routine for taking medications. Get a pillbox that is marked with the days of the week, and fill the pillbox at the beginning of each week. This is an easy way to tell when each day's medications have been taken.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as it's remembered. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Two doses should never be taken to make up for the dose missed.
  • Make sure prescriptions are filled regularly, and ask the pharmacist any questions you have about refilling a prescription. Don't wait until you're completely out of medication before filling prescriptions.

Heart Medication Safety Tips

  • Don't take less medication than your doctor prescribes in order to save money. You have to take the full amount in order to get the full benefits. If drug costs are too high, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce the costs.
  • Don't take any over-the-counter drugs or herbal therapies until you've consulted with your doctor or pharmacist. These drugs can make heart disease symptoms worse and/or change the effect of prescribed medications. Even common drugs such as antacids, salt substitutes, cough/cold/allergy medications (including Benadryl and Dimetapp), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve) can worsen heart disease symptoms or cause harmful effects when taken with some heart medicines.
  • If you're going to have surgery with a general anesthetic -- including dental surgery -- be sure to tell your doctor or dentist what heart medications you're taking.

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