Cardiac Medications

by Kaiser Permanente |

Medications for heart conditions

Heart conditions affect millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, there are some medications that often can reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and improve your quality of life. Learn more about medicines that are commonly used to treat heart conditions.

Heart medications can be an effective treatment option

Medications can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall heart health. With the right medications and treatment plan, many people with heart conditions can live full and active lives.

Types of heart medications

A variety of medications can be used to treat heart conditions. These include:

  • ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) stop the formation of angiotensin, a hormone that narrows blood vessels. ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. This medication can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with coronary artery disease.
  • Antiarrhythmics may restore a normal heart rhythm in people with irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias.
  • Anticoagulants can prevent blood clots. They’re useful for people with atrial fibrillation or other heart conditions that increase the risk of clots.
  • Antiplatelet agents prevent blood clots by reducing the activity of platelets in the blood. They’re often used in combination with anticoagulants.
  • ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers) block the effects of angiotensin, a hormone that narrows blood vessels. ARBs are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, and to protect the kidneys in diabetes.
  • Beta blockers slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers are useful for treating high blood pressure, heart failure, and other heart conditions.
  • Calcium channel blockers relax the muscles in your blood vessels and heart. This medication is useful for treating high blood pressure, angina, and arrhythmias.
  • Diuretics help reduce fluid buildup in the body. Diuretics are useful for treating heart failure, high blood pressure, and other conditions that can cause fluid retention.
  • Nitrates help relax your blood vessels and are useful for treating angina and heart failure.
  • Statins help lower cholesterol levels, which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may recommend using a combination of medications.

Cardiac conditions commonly treated with medication

Medications can relieve symptoms of some conditions while reducing the risk of complications. Common conditions that can be treated with medication include:

  • Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, medication can restore your regular heart rhythm.
  • Arrhythmia drugs can be used to regulate your heart rate.
  • Angina medication can relieve chest pain.

Along with other medical care, medications can help people with cardiac conditions lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Ask your doctor about the best treatment for you

At Kaiser Permanente, we treat the person, not the condition. Our heart care teams work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that considers your individual needs and preferences. You’ll also have access to many resources to help you manage your heart health — from from online health tools to classes* and support groups.

You may need medication to help manage your heart condition. If you do, your pharmacists and care teams will work with you to get you the right medication, at the right dose, with the right follow-up care.

It’s important to note that medications often have side effects. Medications can also interact with other medications or supplements, including those you purchase without a prescription. Make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medication.

Learn more about cardiac care at Kaiser Permanente.

*Some classes may require a fee.