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.
- Relieve or control
- 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
- Reduce the chance of other problems from heart failure,
- Reduce hospital
- 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.
- 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)
- ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors)
relax and widen blood vessels. This
makes it easier for blood to flow.
- Aldosterone receptor antagonists make the kidneys get rid of extra
- ARBs (angiotensin II receptor
blockers) make it easier for blood to flow through the
- Beta-blockers slow the heart rate. They also may help the heart fill with blood more completely.
- Digoxin helps the heart pump more blood with each beat.
- Diuretics help relieve symptoms like swelling in the legs.
- Vasodilators lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the
Medicines for filling problems (diastolic heart failure)
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.
- Heart Failure: Avoiding Medicines That Make Symptoms Worse