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Medications

Medications A-Z

ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme)

ACE inhibitors help control blood pressure and make it easier for the heart to pump.

They are given to people with high blood pressure, heart failure, and those at risk of developing coronary artery disease. They may also be given after a heart attack to prevent complications.

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Aldosterone antagonists (Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists) (Eplerenone or Spironolactone)

These drugs reduce the stress on your heart. They also have a diuretic effect.

They treat high blood pressure and heart failure usually in combination with other medications.

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Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB)

ARBs help your blood vessels relax. This can lower your blood pressure.

They treat high blood pressure and heart failure. ARBs may be prescribed if you have side effects with ACE inhibitors.

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Antiarrhythmics

Antiarrhythmics slow the electrical impulses in your heart so it can beat regularly.

They treat heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). They help reduce heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, fast heartbeats, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pain and shortness of breath.

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Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are also called blood thinners. They reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

They are taken by people who have artificial heart valves, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), cardiomyopathy or have had a heart attack.

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Antiplatelets (Aspirin®, ASA, acetylsalicylic acid, clopidogrel, dipyridamole, ticlopidine)

Antiplatelets help stop dangerous blood clots from forming. This can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Aspirin® is the most common antiplatelet.

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Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers treat high blood pressure, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) and chest pain (angina).

They may help prevent future heart attacks. And are also used to treat anxiety, migraines and tremors caused by an overactive thyroid.

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Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)

CCBs help control high blood pressure (hypertension), chest pain (angina) caused by coronary artery disease, and irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).

CCBs are often taken in combination with beta-blockers or diuretics. They’re also called calcium channel antagonists.

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Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors (ezetimibe)

These drugs prevent your body from absorbing and storing cholesterol in your liver. They also improve the way cholesterol is cleared from your blood and lower your “bad” LDL-cholesterol level.

Ezetimibe is the only cholesterol absorption inhibitor currently available in Canada.

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Digoxin

This drug treats heart rhythm disorders and heart failure.

It works by improving your heart's pumping action or slowing it down.

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Diuretics

These drugs treat high blood pressure and heart failure. They are usually combined with other medications.

They remove excess salt and water from your body and help your kidneys produce more urine. This can lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart’s workload.

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Fibrates

Fibrates (also called fibric acid derivatives) help reduce high cholesterol levels. This can lower your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

They work by lowering your triglycerides (a fat found in the blood). Reducing triglyceride levels can increase your levels of “good” HDL-cholesterol. They can also reduce the “bad” LDL-cholesterol.

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Niacin

Niacin is a form of vitamin B. When prescribed by your healthcare provider, it can be used to help lower cholesterol.

It works by slowing your liver’s production of “bad” LDL-cholesterol and raising your “good” HDL-cholesterol.

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Nitrates (Nitroglycerin)

Nitroglycerin is a type of nitrate. It helps widen your blood vessels. This makes it easier for your blood to flow and reduces the workload on your heart.

Nitrates prevent chest pain (angina). They can reduce the number of angina attacks you have, relieve the pain of a current attack, and treat the symptoms of heart failure.

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Resins

Resins can help reduce your total cholesterol and may even raise your “good” HDL-cholesterol.

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Statins

Statins lower cholesterol and other fats in your body.

They work by blocking an enzyme in the liver that helps your body make cholesterol. This can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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Warfarin

Warfarin is blood thinner, or anticoagulant.

It helps prevent blood clots from forming in your body. This can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

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