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Heart Disease Medicine: How Can It Help You?

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Combined Alpha- and Beta-Blockers

This type of heart disease medication helps lower blood pressure. It does this by slowing your heart rate and reducing nerve impulses that tell vessels to tighten.

Examples of combined alpha- and beta-blockers include carvedilol (Coreg) and labetolol (Normodyne, Trandate).

Digitalis Drugs

This type of heart disease medicine can be helpful in these cases:

Digitalis drugs work by making your heart beat stronger and can help slow down heart rate. Digoxin (Lanoxin, Digox) is one example of a digitalis drug.

Diuretics

Diuretics are often called "water pills." Diuretics can help your heart in these ways:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce swelling from extra fluid buildup throughout your body
  • Relieve the heart's workload

Here's how they work: Diuretics help your kidneys remove sodium and water from the body. One of the results is that you have less blood volume circulating in your blood vessels. Less blood volume in the vessels leads to lower blood pressure.

Diuretics are usually the first type of medicine that your doctor will try if you have high blood pressure. Examples of diuretics include: 

  • Bumetanide (Bumex)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide or HCTZ (Esidrix)
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone)

Some diuretics are combined in one pill with other heart medications.

Nervous System Inhibitors

This type of heart disease medicine helps lower blood pressure.

Nervous system inhibitors keep your brain and central nervous system from sending too many nerve impulses that tell the vessels to tighten. As a result, blood vessels remain wider. This helps lower your blood pressure.

Some nervous system inhibitors are called "central agonists." Others are called "peripheral adrenergic" inhibitors. Clonidine (Catapres) is an example of a central agonist. Guanadrel (Hylorel) is an example of a peripheral adrenergic drug.

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