Treatment of heart failure requires a cooperative partnership between you and your doctor, and the entire healthcare team. Because heart failure is a chronic, lifelong problem, your treatment will need to be adjusted frequently to keep your heart pumping as effectively as possible. Your doctor will rely on you to observe and report changes in your symptoms and your body weight.
It is very helpful for you to know the names, doses and schedule for the medications you are taking. Carrying a list with you in your wallet or purse, so you can share with your healthcare providers when needed, makes it easier to remember your information.
Don’t run out of medications as this could be life threatening. Try to keep at least a seven-day supply on hand. Order your refill several days ahead of when you will need it.
Common Medications for Heart Failure
Heart failure medications are used to promote blood flow, decrease the workload on your heart and sometimes to block the body’s alarm messages that may speed up the heart. There are several types of medications commonly used.
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB), or Angiotensin Receptor Blocker / Neprilysin Inhibitors (ARNI)
These medications decrease the workload of the heart by relaxing the blood vessels and decreasing the blood pressure.
These medications enhance urine output to help alleviate an overload of fluid. Potassium supplements may be used with some diuretics, as they can cause the body to lose too much potassium.
This medication is used to help the heart muscle pump more forcefully, which helps blood flow out of the heart and travel throughout the body to cells in need of oxygen and nutrients. It is also used for people who have rapid or irregular heartbeats.
These medications are used to prevent your heart rate from speeding up and to help lower blood pressure. This allows your heart to pump blood out to the body against less resistance.
This medication has recently been noted to help block the alarm messages that the kidneys send out, and may help slow the heart failure disease process, when used along with ACE Inhibitor medications.
You should always consult with your pharmacist or doctor if you have particular questions about the heart failure medications you are taking, especially if you’re concerned about interactions with other types of medications.