Treatment of heart disease usually requires a variety of heart medications. If you are tracking your heart medications, make sure to take the prescribed dose at the prescribed time, and get refills before they run out.
If you are caring for a loved one with heart disease, you may need to remind him or her when it's time to take different drugs, or you may actually need to give out the medication when it's time to be taken.
It’s dramatic when someone has a heart attack on television or in the movies. But in real life, symptoms can be more subtle and difficult to identify. And because heart attack and angina symptoms are so similar, it may be hard to tell what's going on.
But knowing the differences -- and the reasons behind them -- can result in seeking treatment sooner, and living longer.
Following are pointers on tracking your heart medications and taking them safely.
Daily Heart Medication Tips:
Know the names, dosages, and side effects of your heart medications and what they are used for.
Always keep a list of the medications with you so that ALL your doctors know exactly what you are taking.
Heart medications need to be taken as scheduled, at the same time every day. Medications should not be stopped or changed without first consulting with your doctor. Continue taking a heart drug even if you feel better; stopping medications suddenly can make your condition worse.
Develop a routine for taking your heart drugs. 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 you remember to take it However, if it is almost time for the next dose, ask your doctor about skipping versus making up the missed dose. Two doses should never be taken to make up for the dose missed; nor should they be taken if you don't feel well.
Make sure prescriptions are filled regularly, and if you have questions, write them down and ask the pharmacist. Don't wait until you're completely out of medication before filling prescriptions.
Use one pharmacist to fill your prescriptions. That way, you can make sure you don't get medications that counteract each other.
Safety Tips for Heart Medication:
Don't take less heart 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 medication costs are too high, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce the costs.
Don't take any over-the-counter medications 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, Dimetapp, Sudafed, or Afrin nasal spray), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs, such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve) can worsen heart disease symptoms or cause harmful effects when taken with some heart medicines.
Don't store medications in the bathroom or where they are exposed to light. Moisture and heat can destroy their effectiveness.
If you're going to have surgery -- including dental surgery -- be sure to tell your doctor or dentist what heart medications you're taking.