Managing Your Medications


If you have heart disease, medications along with lifestyle changes may be part of your treatment plan to reduce the risk of future health problems. Certain medications can greatly lower your risk of another cardiac event. That's why it's important for you to understand your medications and take them correctly.

These medications include:

  • Beta blockers: These drugs treat high blood pressure and some other heart conditions by reducing the heart rate and the workload of the heart.

  • Antithrombotics (anti-platelet/anti-coagulant medications): These medications are used to prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. People who have had cardiac procedures such as angioplasty and stenting, to open up their arteries need these drugs to help keep the arteries open.

  • ACE inhibitors: This class of medications treats high blood pressure and heart failure by interfering with the body's production of angiotensin, a chemical in the body that causes the arteries to constrict. People who can't take ACE inhibitors may be able to use angiotensin receptor blockers, also known as ARBs.

  • Statins: Medications that help the body process and remove LDL (bad) cholesterol. This not only lowers cholesterol, but protects the inner lining of the arteries.

Your health care professional may recommend other medications for you. Be sure to tell all your health care professionals about the medications you're taking, including over-the-counter medications, supplements and herbal preparations.

How much do you know about your medicines?

This checklist may help you find out what you need to learn about your medications.

Medication Checklist
True False I know the names and doses of all my medications.
True False I know which side effects to report to my health care professional.
True False I know how long I need to stay on all my medications.
True False I know what foods or other medications to avoid when taking my medications.
True False I told my health care professional about all the medications, vitamins, herbs and other over-the-counter medications I take.

If you selected True for at least four items, it's a sign that you're taking control of your medications. Discuss any items you noted as False with your health care professional or pharmacist.

Download a printable medication tracker (PDF)