There are many medicines that you'll need to avoid
when you have heart failure. Some are over-the-counter drugs that you can buy
without a prescription. Others are drugs that a doctor may prescribe.
Do not start taking any of the medicines listed in the table below unless
your doctor says it is okay and he or she knows that you have heart failure. If
your heart failure is mild, you may be able to use some of the medicines for a
short time, but it's very important to ask your doctor first.
you are already taking a medicine on the list below, be sure to ask your doctor
or pharmacist if it is okay to take it.
Medicines you may need to avoid
Over-the-counter medicines you may need to avoid (talk to your doctor or pharmacist)
Prescription medicines you may need to avoid (talk to your doctor or pharmacist)
Pain relievers called NSAIDs
Ibuprofen, such as Advil and Motrin
Naproxen, such as Aleve
Aspirin, such as Bayer
If your doctor has told you to take a
low-dose aspirin every day for your heart problems, it's probably okay to take
it. Low-dose aspirin can help prevent blood clots and may prevent a stroke or a
Higher doses of aspirin may make your heart failure
worse. Do not take aspirin for pain, such as from headaches or arthritis. Use
acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, instead.
Cold, cough, flu, or sinus medicines
Be sure to check the label. Do not take
medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, or
oxymetazoline, such as:
(decongestants), such as Afrin and Dristan.
Herbal remedies, such
as ma huang and Herbalife.
Make sure your cough and cold medicines
don't contain aspirin or ibuprofen.
These are drugs used to treat a fast or
uneven heart rhythm. You may need to avoid the following:
Antacids or laxatives that contain sodium
Check the label for sodium or saline. Examples include:
Antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer.
Laxatives, such as Fleet Phospho-Soda.
Calcium channel blockers
People with a certain kind of heart failure
may need to avoid the following medicines:
If you need to take a calcium channel
blocker for another health problem, such as high blood pressure, your doctor
will watch your health carefully.
Some antibiotics may interfere with how
your body uses the medicine digoxin. If you take digoxin, talk with your doctor
before taking antibiotics.
Kaul S, et al. (2010). Thiazolidinedione drugs and cardiovascular risks: A science advisory from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation, 121(16): 1868–1877.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Margaret Hetherington, PHM, BsC - Pharmacy
Current as of
March 12, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 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