Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Heart Disease Medicine: How Can It Help You?

Font Size
A
A
A

If you've been diagnosed with heart disease, you and your doctor have probably discussed heart disease medicines you need to maintain your heart health.

Your doctor has hundreds of different heart disease medicines to choose from. These medicines work in a variety of ways to help your heart work better. What are the different types of heart disease medicines? How do they help? Here is a list of the types of heart disease medicines:

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Recognizing Heart Attack, Stroke, and Angina

Doctors call it the "Hollywood heart attack": a middle-aged man breaks into a cold sweat, grimaces, and clutches his chest-just like in the movies. Trouble is, in real life, heart attack symptoms don't always announce themselves so dramatically. More often they are insidious and puzzling, such as unexplained fatigue or abdominal discomfort, and many people wait for hours before seeking help. Big mistake, doctors tell WebMD. The ability to quickly spot signs of heart attack, angina, and stroke...

Read the Recognizing Heart Attack, Stroke, and Angina article > >

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelet agents
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Digitalis
  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilators
  • Statins

Let's take a closer look at each group of heart disease medicines. Read on to learn more about each type and how it helps maintain your heart health.

Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are sometimes called "blood thinners." This type of heart disease medicine helps prevent clots from forming in your blood vessels. This can help prevent a heart attack or stroke, which are often caused by clots. However, anticoagulants can't make existing clots go away.

Examples of anticoagulants include Coumadin (warfarin), Eliquis (apixaban), heparin, Lovenox (enoxaparin), Pradaxa (dabigatran), and Xarelto (rivaroxaban).

Antiplatelet Agents

This type of heart disease medicine helps prevent clots from forming in blood vessels. It accomplishes this by preventing blood platelets from clumping together.

Your doctor may prescribe antiplatelet medication in these cases:

  • You have had a heart attack
  • You have unstable angina
  • You have had strokes, including TIAs (transient ischemic attacks)
  • You have another type of heart disease
  • Your doctor has noted plaque buildup in the blood vessels of your legs
  • You are at high risk for heart attack or stroke
  • You have atrial fibrillation

Examples of antiplatelet medicine include aspirin, Brilinta, Clopidogrel, and Effient. Some people may not be able to take antiplatelet medications if they are at risk for bleeding.

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers can help lower your overall blood pressure. They do this by reducing nerve impulses that tell your vessels to tighten. Your blood vessels remain relaxed, lowering your overall blood pressure. Cardura (doxazosin) and Minipress (prazosin) are two examples of alpha-blockers.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW