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Heart Failure - Medications

You probably will need to take several medicines to treat heart failure, even if you don't have symptoms yet.

Medicines don't cure heart failure. But they can help your heart work better and improve symptoms.

Medicines can:

  • Relieve or control symptoms.
  • Treat other health problems you have, such as coronary artery disease.
  • Improve your daily quality of life.
  • Slow the rate at which your heart failure gets worse.
  • Reduce the chance of other problems from heart failure, such as stroke.
  • Reduce hospital stays.
  • Help you live as long as possible.

It's very important to take your medicines exactly as your doctor says. If you don't, your heart failure may get worse or you may get sudden heart failure.

actionset.gif Heart Failure: Taking Medicines Properly

The medicines you take will depend on the type of heart failure you have. Some of the medicines treat the heart's pumping problems (systolic heart failure), while others treat problems with filling (diastolic heart failure). The most commonly used medicines are listed below.

Medicines for pumping problems (systolic heart failure)

Medicines for filling problems (diastolic heart failure)

Other medicines

You also may take other medicines for health problems that can cause heart failure or for problems caused by heart failure.

Talk to your doctor before you take any over-the-counter medicines. Some of them might make your symptoms worse.

actionset.gif Heart Failure: Avoiding Medicines That Make Symptoms Worse

More information

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 18, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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