Medicines for the Heart
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If you have been prescribed medication for a heart condition, it is important to know what you are taking, why you are taking it, how to take it and what effects it will have. There are a number of effective drugs to treat heart conditions and research has made great progress in recent years.
Why are there so many different medications?
Most drugs designed to treat heart disease belong to a few main types or categories. The drugs within each category are similar, but they may vary slightly in the way they work. Doctors have a wide variety of drugs to choose from and can select the one that best meets your needs. You may have the same condition as a friend or neighbour, but your doctor may prescribe different drugs because they’re better suited to you. Everyone reacts differently to each medicine.
The same drug may have several different names – each has an ‘official name’ (the generic name) but it may be prescribed under one or more trade names, or proprietary names – those given to it by its manufacturer. Occasionally, two drugs are combined in one tablet and will have a single trade name.
What do heart medicines do?
The function of the drug depends on what it is, but most change how the heart or circulatory system work. Some are given to control high blood pressure to help lower cholesterol and some can benefit more than one condition.
How often will I need to take medication?
Most drugs need to be taken regularly, but you should always follow your doctor’s instructions. In most cases, this means taking your medication once or twice a day. Some drugs need to be taken when a symptom occurs, like angina. It can be dangerous to stop taking your medication without medical advice, so speak to your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
Do heart medicines have side effects?
Medications used to treat heart conditions are very safe and dangerous side effects are rare. But all drugs have possible side effects, so if you develop any new symptoms, it’s important to tell your doctor. Your pharmacist can tell you more about your medication, and by law the information leaflet in your medication’s packaging must list all the possible side effects.
How does my doctor choose the right medication for me?
There might be several different medications that treat your heart condition, but not all will be right for you. Your doctor will choose the one that is most likely to be effective for your condition and which is most suitable and safe for you. People respond to drugs differently and if your medication doesn’t suit you, your doctor will prescribe another.
Can I take alternative medicines?
By 'alternative medicines' we mean any supplement, remedy or herbal preparation that has not been prescribed by your doctor. Alternative medicines shouldn’t be seen as substitutes for conventional drugs because most have not undergone rigorous research trials to establish how safe or effective they are. They can change the way the medicine your doctor has prescribed works, so check with your doctor before taking an alternative medicine.
Source - bhf
Upbeat Heart Support Group