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Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - Medications

Take all of your medicines correctly. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Taking medicine can lower your risk of having another heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease.

In the ambulance and emergency room

Treatment for a heart attack or unstable angina begins with medicines in the ambulance and emergency room. This treatment is similar for both. The goal is to prevent permanent heart muscle damage or prevent a heart attack by restoring blood flow to your heart as quickly as possible.

You will receive:

You also will receive medicines to stop blood clots so blood can flow to the heart. Some medicines will break up blood clots to increase blood flow. You might be given:

In the hospital and at home

In the hospital, your doctors will start you on medicines that lower your risk of having complications or another heart attack. You may already have taken some of these medicines. They can help you live longer after a heart attack. You will take these medicines for a long time, maybe the rest of your life.

Medicine to lower blood pressure and the heart's workload

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

Medicine to lower cholesterol

  • Statins

Medicine to manage angina symptoms

What to think about

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.

If your doctor recommends daily aspirin, don't substitute nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, for example) or naproxen (such as Aleve), for the aspirin. NSAIDS relieve pain and inflammation much like aspirin does, but they do not affect blood clotting in the same way that aspirin does. NSAIDs do not lower your risk of another heart attack. In fact, NSAIDs may raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

If you need to take an NSAID for a long time, such as for pain, talk with your doctor to see if it is safe for you. For more information about daily aspirin and NSAIDs, see Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy.

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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