You probably will need to take several medicines to treat heart failure, even if you don't have symptoms yet.
Medicines don't cure heart failure. But they can help your heart work better and improve symptoms.
- Relieve or control symptoms.
- Treat other health problems you have, such as Reference coronary artery disease Opens New Window.
- Improve your daily quality of life.
- Slow the rate at which your heart failure gets worse.
- Reduce the chance of other problems from heart failure, such as Reference stroke Opens New Window.
- Reduce hospital stays.
- Help you live as long as possible.
It's very important to take your medicines exactly as your doctor says. If you don't, your heart failure may get worse or you may get Reference sudden heart failure Opens New Window.
The medicines you take will depend on the type of heart failure you have. Some of the medicines treat the heart's pumping problems (systolic heart failure), while others treat problems with filling (diastolic heart failure). The most commonly used medicines are listed below.
Medicines for pumping problems (systolic heart failure)
- Reference ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) relax and widen blood vessels. This makes it easier for blood to flow.
- Reference Aldosterone receptor antagonists make the kidneys get rid of extra fluid.
- Reference ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers) make it easier for blood to flow through the vessels.
- Reference Beta-blockers slow the heart rate. They also may help the heart fill with blood more completely.
- Reference Digoxin helps the heart pump more blood with each beat.
- Reference Diuretics help relieve symptoms like swelling in the legs.
- Reference Vasodilators lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart.
Medicines for filling problems (diastolic heart failure)
- Reference ACE inhibitors
- Reference ARBs
- Reference Beta-blockers
- Reference Calcium channel blockers
- Reference Direct renin inhibitors
- Reference Diuretics
You also may take other medicines for health problems that can cause heart failure or for problems caused by heart failure.
- Reference Antiarrhythmics prevent very fast and sometimes irregular heart rhythms.
- Blood thinners, also known as Reference anticoagulants Opens New Window, prevent dangerous blood clots.
- Reference Antihypertensives Opens New Window lower blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor before you take any Reference over-the-counter Opens New Window medicines. Some of them might make your symptoms worse.
- Reference Risks and Benefits of Medicines for Heart Failure
- Reference Monitoring and Medicines for Heart Failure
- Reference Reference Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
- Reference Reference Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
- Topic Overview
- Health Tools
- What Increases Your Risk
- When to Call a Doctor
- Exams and Tests
- Treatment Overview
- Living With Heart Failure
- Coping With Your Feelings
- Other Treatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Other Places To Get Help
- Related Information