Heart Failure Medications

Updated:Feb 26,2014

Heart failure patients need multiple medications. Each one treats a different symptom or contributing factor. Each medication comes with its own instructions and rules. They can't do their job if you don't take them correctly. You and your caregivers should work with your healthcare team to understand the medications and how they should be taken; when, how often and in what amounts. It's important to discuss all of the drugs you take with your doctor and understand their desired effects and possible side effects. Remember that your healthcare provider and pharmacist are your best sources of information. Don't hesitate to ask them questions about your medicines.

The following chart gives you a quick "at-a-glance" look at many typical cardiac medications. Your prescription may have a different name from the ones listed on this chart. Brand names commonly available in the U.S. are shown in parentheses after the generic name for each drug.

*Some of the major types of commonly prescribed cardiovascular medications are summarized in this section. For your information and reference, we have included generic names as well as major trade names to help you identify what you may be taking; however, the AHA is not recommending or endorsing any specific products. If your prescription medication isn't on this list, remember that your healthcare provider and pharmacist are your best sources of information. It's important to discuss all of the drugs you take with your doctor and understand their desired effects and possible side effects. Never stop taking a medication and never change your dose or frequency without first consulting your doctor.

*Some cholesterol-lowering medications may interact with grapefruit, grapefruit juice, pomegranate and pomegranate juice. Please talk to your health care provider about any potential risks.

Use these handy "At-A-Glance" charts to gain a quick understanding of these common cardiac medications you may be prescribed. If you need more help understanding what medication you're taking and why you're taking it, print this chart out and take it to your doctor.

Cardiac Medications At-A-Glance

(Also known as Blood Thinners.)

Commonly prescribed include:

  • Dalteparin (Fragmin), Danaparoid (Orgaran)
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
  • Heparin (various)
  • Tinzaparin (Innohep)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

What the Medication Does

Decreases the clotting (coagulating) ability of the blood. Sometimes called blood thinners, although they do not actually thin the blood. They do NOT dissolve existing blood clots. Used to treat certain blood vessel, heart and lung conditions.
 

Reason for Medication

  • Helps to prevent harmful clots from forming in the blood vessels.
  • May prevent the clots from becoming larger and causing more serious problems.
  • Often prescribed to prevent first or recurrent stroke.



Medicine Management

Keeping Track / Developing a System

Keeping track of your prescribed medications can be challenging — especially if you're taking several different medicines. Writing things down will make managing your medications a lot easier. Use our printable medicine tracker to stay organized.

Lowering High Blood Pressure
By treating high blood pressure, you can help prevent a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and peripheral artery disease. Our printable blood pressure tracker will help you monitor your blood pressure and record suggestions from your doctor.

Manage Everything Online
Heart360 is a one-stop, easy-to-use set of online tracking tools for medications, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, weight and physical activity.  Set goals and track your progress each time you enter your levels.  Print comprehensive reports to share with your healthcare team. And manage accounts for your loved ones as well as yourself.

 





"This content was last reviewed on 08/20/2012."


Heart Failure

NEW from Heart Insight:
Know Your Medicines

Keeping track of your medicines can be overwhelming. Learn what you can do to take all your medicines safely and effectively in this free Digi-mag topic supplement from Heart Insight magazine or in PDF format. Or download the Heart Insight magazine iPad app to access along with all of our regular issues.

Watch, Learn and Live

Interactive Cardiovascular Library

Our Interactive Cardiovascular Library has detailed animations and illustrations to help you learn about conditions, treatments and procedures related to heart disease and stroke.

Start exploring today!

Heart Failure Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Questions to ask your doctor

Use these questions to ask your doctor about heart failure.