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Coronary Heart Disease Medications

Medical Editor:

What are the different types of coronary heart disease medicines?

Many different types of medications are used to treat coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, depending on the patient's needs. You may be prescribed antiplatelet drugs such as Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), Ticlid (ticlopidine), Effient (prasugrel), Reopro (abciximab), Integrilin (eptifibatide), and aspirin; anticoagulants including Coumadin (warfarin) and heparin; angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as Zestril (lisinopril); vasodilators such as Nitrostat and Nitropress (nitroglycerin), Ismo (isosorbide mononitrate), and Isordil (isosorbide dinitrate); calcium channel blockers (CCBs) such as Procardia (nifedipine); anti-arrhythmics including Cordarone (amiodarone), Tambocor (flecainide acetate), and Rythmol (propafenone hydrochloride); catecholamines such as dopamine and dobutamine; and anti-anginal medications such as Ranexa (ranolazine).

What are common side effects of coronary heart disease medications?

Each type of coronary heart disease medication has different side effects. Antiplatelet drugs can cause diarrhea, rash, or itching, abdominal pain, headache, chest pain, muscle aches, and dizziness. Side effects of anticoagulants are bleeding and necrosis (gangrene) of the skin. Side effects of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors include cough, elevated blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia), low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, weakness, abnormal taste, and rash. Taking vasodilators may cause lightheadedness or dizziness, increased or irregular heart rate, or headache. Side effects of calcium channel blockers include constipation, nausea, headache, rash, edema, low blood pressure, drowsiness, and dizziness. Anti-arrhythmics may cause dizziness, blurred vision, anorexia, unusual taste, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Where can people find more information about side effects of prescription coronary heart disease drugs?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Always consult your doctor if you are having unexplained symptoms or questions related to your medications. For more information about side effects of coronary heart disease medications, search for the drug and click on the drug's "Side Effects Center" on the top left side of the page.

Reviewed by:
Robert J. Bryg, MD
Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease

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