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Keeping Track of Your Heart Medicines

Heart Medication Travel Tips:

  • Keep heart medications with you when traveling. Don't pack them in luggage that you don't plan to keep with you at all times; luggage that is checked can be lost or delayed in getting to you.
  • Keep a separate list of all the medications you're taking, along with your doctor's phone number, dosing intervals, and dosage sizes -- in case you lose your medications.
  • If you are taking a flight that crosses time zones, make sure you maintain the right dosing frequency.
  • If you're taking a long trip, pack an extra week's supply of medications, the phone number of your pharmacy, and your prescriptions' refill numbers in case you need a refill.

Tips for Specific Heart Medications:

  • Heart medications that relax constricted blood vessels -- ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers, for example -- may cause dizziness. If you get dizzy when standing or getting out of bed, sit or lie down for a few minutes, then get up more slowly. 
  • ACE inhibitors, prescribed to lower blood pressure, may cause or increase cough. If coughing is keeping you up at night or interfering with your daily activities, contact your doctor.
  • Diuretics ("water pills"), often prescribed to heart patients to control blood pressure, increase how often you go to the bathroom. If you take a single dose of diuretic each day, take it in the morning. If you take two doses of a diuretic each day, take the second dose no later than late afternoon so you can sleep through the night (without having to get up and urinate). However, promising evidence has shown that if you also have type 2 diabetes or chronic kidney disease, taking a dose before bedtime may help better control your blood pressure over time and decrease your risk for heart attack, stroke and heart-related death.  
  • A warning: Because diuretics can cause dehydration (an excessive loss of water), look out for dizziness, extreme thirst, dry mouth, less urine output, dark-colored urine, or constipation. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor. Don't just assume that you need more fluids.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Thomas M. Maddox, MD on February 25, 2012

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