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Heart Disease Medicine: How Can It Help You?

Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are sometimes called "blood thinners." This type of heart disease medicine helps prevent clots from forming in your blood vessels. This can help prevent a heart attack or stroke, which are often caused by clots. However, anticoagulants can't make existing clots go away.

Examples of anticoagulants include: 

 

 

Antiplatelet Agents

This type of heart disease drug helps prevent clots from forming in blood vessels. It accomplishes this by preventing blood platelets from clumping together.

Your doctor may prescribe antiplatelet medication in these cases:

  • You have had a heart attack
  • You have unstable angina
  • You have had strokes, including TIAs (transient ischemic attacks)
  • You have another type of heart disease
  • Your doctor has noted plaque buildup in the blood vessels of your legs
  • You are at high risk for heart attack or stroke
  • You have atrial fibrillation

Examples of antiplatelet medicine include:

  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Prasugrel (Effient)
  • Ticagrelor (Brilinta)
  • Ticlopidine (Ticlid)

Some people may not be able to take antiplatelet medications if they are at risk for bleeding.

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers can help lower your blood pressure. They do this by reducing nerve impulses that tell your vessels to tighten. Your blood vessels remain relaxed, lowering your overall blood pressure. Doxazosin (Cardura) and prazosin (Minipress) are two examples of the many alpha-blockers.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

This type of heart disease medicine can help in these ways:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Make the heart's work easier
  • Help the heart work more efficiently
  • Improve the heart's function if you have heart failure

Here's how ACE inhibitors work: They prevent your body from making angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a hormone that makes blood vessels tighten. Because ACE inhibitors lower the amount of this hormone in your body, your blood vessels remain relaxed. Blood flows more easily through the vessels, lowering your overall blood pressure. Your heart doesn't have to work so hard to pump blood through your vessels.

Examples of ACE inhibitors include:

  • Benazapril (Lotensin)
  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • Ramipril (Altace)
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