Many people have trouble correctly
taking their medicines for
coronary artery disease. Often, they need to take
several medicines at different times of the day. And some people struggle to
afford the medicines. But medicines are often a key part of treatment, and
people who do not take them as prescribed have an increased risk of
complications and death. For help with taking your medicines properly, see the topics:
- Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
- Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions.
- Reducing Medicine Costs.
Medicines to treat symptoms and prevent complications
If you have symptoms of coronary artery disease, your doctor may
prescribe some of the following medicines to control symptoms and, in some
cases, slow the progression of the disease:
Anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, may also be used after an
bypass surgery. You might take an anticoagulant if you have heart disease as well as
atrial fibrillation or other complications.
What to Think About
Medicines for angina
Stable angina can often be controlled
with medicine. For more help with controlling angina, see the topic
Quick Tips: Taking Charge of Your Angina and Using Nitroglycerin for Sudden Chest Pain.
If angina symptoms become worse, your doctor may need to adjust your
medicines. But if angina symptoms still get worse and medicines don't help, you
may need angioplasty or bypass surgery. For angina that gets worse quickly or
occurs at rest (unstable angina), you may need hospitalization and
stenting, or bypass surgery. For more information, see
Heart Attack and Unstable Angina.
Do not use erection-enhancing medicines such as sildenafil
(Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis) if you take nitroglycerin
or other nitrates for angina. Combined, these two drugs can cause a serious
drop in blood pressure.
If you are taking an erection-enhancing
medicine and seek treatment for angina, tell the doctor about your use of this
medicine so you don't get nitroglycerin or another type of nitrate. There are
other medicines that may work instead to ease your chest pain.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
are all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and can relieve pain and
inflammation. But only aspirin will reduce your risk for heart attack or
stroke. Don't substitute ibuprofen or naproxen for
low-dose aspirin therapy. If you need to take an NSAID
for a long time, talk with your doctor to see if it is safe for you.
For more information, see:
- Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?