Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

How to Take Heart Medication

    Your doctor may prescribe a variety of heart medications you can take to treat or prevent heart disease. These drugs may help lower your blood pressure, reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood, or help the body get rid of excess fluids that put a strain on the heart's ability to pump blood.

    Heart medication recommendations vary for each person. Whatever the treatment protocol prescribed to you, it is a good idea to keep the following guidelines in mind when you're taking heart disease drugs.

    Recommended Related to Heart Disease

    Endocarditis, Infective

    Important It is possible that the main title of the report Endocarditis, Infective is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Read the Endocarditis, Infective article > >

    • Know the names of your heart medications and how they work. Know the generic and brand names, dosages, and side effects of the drugs. Always keep a list of your medications with you.
    • Take heart medications as scheduled, at the same time every day. Do not stop taking or change medications unless you first talk with your doctor. Even if you feel good, continue to take your medications. Stopping these drugs suddenly can make the condition worse.
    • Have a routine for taking heart medications. Get a pillbox that is marked with the days of the week. Fill the pillbox at the beginning of each week to make it easier to remember.
    • Keep a medicine calendar and note every time you take a dose. The prescription label tells how much to take at each dose, but your doctor may change the dosage periodically, depending on your response to the drug. On your medication calendar, you can list any changes in dosages as prescribed by your doctor.
    • Do not decrease a drug's dosage to save money. You must take the full amount to get the full benefits. Talk with your doctor about ways to reduce drug costs.
    • Do not take any over-the-counter drugs or herbal therapies unless you ask your doctor first. Some drugs, such as antacids, salt substitutes, antihistamines (including Benadryl and Dimetapp), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs, such as Advil, Motrin, and Indocin), can worsen heart failure symptoms.
    • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, ask your doctor about skipping versus making up the missed dose.
    • Regularly fill prescriptions and ask your pharmacist any questions you have. Do not wait until you are completely out of medication before filling prescriptions. If you have trouble getting to the pharmacy, have financial concerns, or have other problems that make it difficult to get your heart drugs, let the doctor know.
    • When traveling, keep medications with you so you can take them as scheduled. On longer trips, take an extra week's supply of medications and copies of your prescriptions, in case you need to get a refill.
    • Before having surgery with a general anesthetic, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist in charge what heart drugs you are taking. An antibiotic may need to be prescribed prior to a surgical or dental procedure.
    • Drugs that relax constricted blood vessels may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness when standing or getting out of bed, sit or lie down for a few minutes, then get up more slowly.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on January 28, 2015
    Next Article:

    To learn about my medications, I: