Coronary Artery Disease
Many people have trouble correctly taking their medicines for coronary artery disease. Often, they need to take several medicines at different times of the day. And some people struggle to afford the medicines. But medicines are often a key part of treatment, and people who do not take them as prescribed have an increased risk of complications and death.
- Reference Taking Medicines as Prescribed
- Reference Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions
- Reference Reducing Medicine Costs
Medicines to treat symptoms and prevent complications
If you have symptoms of coronary artery disease, your doctor may prescribe some of the following medicines to control symptoms and, in some cases, slow the progression of the disease:
- Reference Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) lower your blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart. If you cannot tolerate certain side effects of an ACE inhibitor, your doctor may prescribe an ARB instead.
- Reference Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors lower your blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart. They may also reduce your risk for a future heart attack or heart failure.
- Reference Aspirin and other antiplatelets help prevent blood clots in your coronary arteries. This can decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Reference Beta-blockers slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure to reduce the amount of work your heart has to do. They also reduce angina.
- Reference Calcium channel blockers slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure to reduce your heart's workload. They also help widen (dilate) your coronary arteries and reduce angina.
- Reference Nitrates (nitroglycerin and long-acting nitrates) relieve chest pain and other symptoms of angina.
- Reference Statins lower your cholesterol and may reduce your risk of a future heart attack.
What to think about
Medicines for angina
Stable angina can often be controlled with medicine such as:
- Reference Calcium channel blockers.
- Reference Nitrates (nitroglycerin and long-acting nitrates).
- An antianginal medicine called ranolazine (Ranexa).
For more help with controlling angina, see:
If angina symptoms become worse, your doctor may need to adjust your medicines. But if angina symptoms still get worse and medicines don't help, you may need angioplasty or bypass surgery. For angina that gets worse quickly or occurs at rest (Reference unstable angina Opens New Window), you may need hospitalization and urgent angioplasty, Reference stenting Opens New Window, or bypass surgery. For more information, see the topic Reference Heart Attack and Unstable Angina.
Do not use erection-enhancing medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra) if you take nitroglycerin or other nitrates for angina. Combined, these two drugs can cause a serious drop in blood pressure.
If you are taking an erection-enhancing medicine and seek treatment for angina, tell the doctor about your use of this medicine so you don't get nitroglycerin or another type of nitrate. There are other medicines that may work instead to ease your chest pain.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and can relieve pain and inflammation. But only aspirin will reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke. Don't substitute ibuprofen or naproxen for Reference low-dose aspirin therapy. If you need to take an NSAID for a long time, talk with your doctor to see if it is safe for you.
- Opens New Window Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke? Opens New Window
- Reference Reference Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
- Health Tools
- What Increases Your Risk
- When to Call a Doctor
- Exams and Tests
- Treatment Overview
- What Happens
- Living With Heart Disease
- Angioplasty and Other Treatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information