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Coronary Artery Disease - Medications

Medicines are an important part of your treatment. Using them correctly can lower your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease.

Medicine to lower blood pressure and the heart's workload

Medicine to prevent blood clots from forming and causing a heart attack

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.

actionset.gif Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely

Medicine to lower cholesterol

  • Statins

Medicine to manage angina symptoms

Stable angina can often be controlled with medicine such as:

If you take nitrates

Do not use erection-enhancing medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra) if you take nitroglycerin or other nitrates for angina. Combined, these two drugs can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. Talk to your doctor. There are other medicines that may work instead to ease your angina.

For more help with controlling angina, see:

Quick Tips: Taking Charge of Your Angina.
Using Nitroglycerin for Angina.

Help taking your medicines

Medicine is a powerful tool to help you manage your heart disease. To get the most of your medicines, take them as prescribed. This may be hard because of how many you have to take and their cost. You may also worry about side effects.

Taking Medicines as Prescribed
Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions
Reducing Medicine Costs

You may have regular blood tests to monitor how the medicine is working in your body. Your doctor will likely let you know when you need to have the tests.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 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 information.
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