Michelle Badash, MS
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Calcium channel blockers
Vasodilators help dilate or widen blood vessels. People with
have blood vessels that are narrowed, which reduces the amount of blood that can be delivered to the heart muscle. Nitrates or nitroglycerin may be used to immediately relieve an attack of
that is occurring, or prevent or reduce future attacks. Nitrates come in many preparations, including tablets, sprays for use under the tongue, ointments, or patches for placement on the skin. The tablets or sprays are used at times of anginal episodes, while the ointment or patch is used on a daily basis for prevention of attacks.
Possible side effects include:
These medications help slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, especially during exercise. They are intended to prevent anginal attacks or
heart attacks. Beta-blockers are also prescribed when recovering from a heart attack in order to lessen the likelihood of recurrence.
Statins are drugs that help to lower cholesterol levels and decrease inflammation. They are often prescribed to people diagnosed with
These medications may reduce the risk of
These medications affect the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels dilate. The supply of blood and oxygen to the heart is increased, while the heart's workload is decreased. This helps to prevent anginal attacks, as well as lessen the possibility of heart attacks.
Antiplatelet agents prevent the formation of blood clots by keeping platelets from clumping and sticking together.
Anticoagulants are given to “thin” the blood, in an effort to prevent the formation of blood clots. The most serious side effect is bleeding.
This medication, which contains a nitrate, dilates blood vessels by affecting the potassium flow in the heart cells and blood vessels.
is an anti-anginal medication that does not depend on reductions in heart rate or blood pressure. It reduces the frequency of anginal chest pain, but has not been shown to reduce heart attacks.
ACE inhibitors work to dilate blood vessels by interfering with the action of angiotensin, a chemical that contracts and narrows blood vessels.
A small, daily dose of
has been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack by preventing blood clots from forming. Ask your doctor before taking aspirin daily. A possible side effect of taking aspirin regularly is bleeding in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
Antihypertensive medication selection and management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114476/Antihypertensive-medication-selection-and-management. Updated August 27, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs for coronary artery disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114649/Antiplatelet-and-anticoagulant-drugs-for-coronary-artery-disease. Updated Mayy 11, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
How is coronary heart disease treated?
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
Updated August 23, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2014.
Lipid-lowering pharmacotherapy overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 24, 2013. Accessed January 28, 2014.
Management of angina. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114265/Management-of-angina. Updated May 11, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
4/16/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116156/Coronary-artery-disease-CAD: LaRosa JC, Deedwania PC, Shepherd J, et al. Comparison of 80 versus 10 mg of atorvastatin on occurrence of cardiovascular events after the first event (from the Treating to New Targets [TNT] trial). Am J Cardiol. 2010;105(3):283-287.
3/5/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116156/Coronary-artery-disease-CAD: FDA announces safety changes in labeling for some cholesterol-lowering drugs. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm293623.htm. Updated March 2, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2014.
Last reviewed March 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
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