What medications are prescribed for cardiovascular disease?

Your physician may prescribe medication as a crucial tool for fighting cardiovascular disease, alongside lifestyle changes, interventional procedures, and even surgery. Depending on the severity of your disease and treatment history, you may be prescribed medication from among any of the following classes:

- statins - for lowering LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels
- antihypertensives - for lowering blood pressure
- beta blockers - for lowering blood pressure and treating irregular heartbeats, among other things
- calcium channel blockers - for treating high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and other conditions
- nitrates - for treating angina
- anticoagulants - for preventing blood clots
- antiplatelets - for preventing blood clots
- thrombolytics - for breaking up existing blood clots

The most common medications that doctors prescribe for people with heart disease are:
  • angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • aspirin
  • anticoagulants (warfarin, dabigatran)
  • beta blockers
  • blood cholesterol-lowering agents
  • calcium-channel blockers
  • digitalis
  • diuretics
  • nitrate (including nitroglycerin)
Common types of medications used to alleviate cardiovascular disease include:
  • anti-arrythmics to control irregular heartbeat
  • antiplatelet medications to thin the blood and help prevent and dissolve clots in arteries and stents
  • aspirin to prevent and dissolve clots in the arteries
  • beta blockers to lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • clot busters to restore blood flow during a heart attack or stroke and to break up blood clots in the legs
  • anticoagulants to prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries and heart
  • digoxin to improve the heart's ability to pump blood and help slow down an irregular heartbeat
  • statins to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • diuretics to lower blood pressure
  • vasodilators to widen blood vessels to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.