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Your Cardiac Medications

ACE Inhibitors

ANGIOTENSION CONVERTING ENZYME INHIBITORS also known as "ACE Inhibitors"

Examples

Captopril (Capoten®), Cilazepril (Inhibace®), Enalapril (Vasotec®), Lisinopril (Prinivi®l; Zestril®), Quinapril (Accupril®), Ramipril (Altace®)

  • ACE Inhibitors cause your blood vessels to relax which lowers your blood pressure.
  • ACE Inhibitors may prevent kidney damage in some patients.
  • Some possible side effects include dizziness and lightheadedness and some people get a dry cough (although it is rare).
  • You should have your potassium checked regularly while taking ACE Inhibitors

ANTICOAGULANTS

ANTICOAGULANTS ("Blood Thinners")

Examples

Warfarin (Coumadin®)

  • Warfarin (Coumadin®) helps to prevent existing blood clots from getting bigger, such as a blood clot in the leg (DVT) or lung (PE) or in the brain (stroke)
  •  Warfarin is used to prevent strokes in patients with rapid/irregular heart rates, and mechanical heart valves.
  • Patients on warfarin need to have regular blood tests (INR) and maintain a consistent diet.
  •  While you are on warfarin, you should avoid taking ASA or Advil® for pain relief, unless otherwise directed by your physician.
  • Since warfarin affects the way your body clots blood, abnormal bleeding can be a side effect.  Watch out for: bleeding from the gums, nosebleeds, abnormal bruising, and blood in urine or stool.

ARBs

ANGIOTENSION II RECEPTOR BLOCKERS also known as "ARBs"

Examples

Candesartan (Atacand®), Irbesartan (Avapro®), Losartan (Cozaar®), Valsartan (Diovan®)

  • ARB's work similarly to ACE Inhibitors.
  • ARBs are frequently used in people that have high blood pressure or heart failure who are not able to tolerate ACE Inhibitors
  • Possible side effects include dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • You should have your potassium checked regularly while taking ARBs.

BETA-BLOCKERS

BETA-BLOCKERS

Examples

Acebutolol (Monitan®), Atenolol (Tenormin®), Metoprolol (Betaloc®)

  • Beta-blockers decrease the amount of work the heart does and help to lower blood pressure.
  • Beta-blockers are used to treat patients with rapid and irregular heart beats, and to prevent heart attacks. They are also used to relieve pain caused by chronic angina and to treat heart failure.
  • Never stop taking beta-blockers without checking with your doctor first.  Stopping them suddenly can lead to serious medical problems.
  • Possible side effects include fatigue, dizziness, cold hands and feet.

CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS

CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS

Examples

Amlodipine (Norvasc®), Felodipine (Renedil®), Nifedipine (Adalat XL®), Diltiazem  (Cardizem®; Tiazac®) and Verapamil (Chronovera®)

  • Calcium Channel Blockers cause relaxation of the arteries which lowers blood pressure and relieves chest pain in some people
  • Verapamil and diltiazem are used for controlling blood pressure, angina, and rapid and irregular heart rates.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers come in many different formulations (XL, CD, PA).  It is very important to know which type you take.
  • Possible side effects include leg swelling, dizziness & lightheadedness

CHOLESTEROL ABSORPTION INHIBITORS

CHOLESTEROL ABSORPTION INHIBITORS

Examples

Ezetimibe (Ezetrol®)

  • Its job is to block the absorption of cholesterol in your gut.  It decreases bad cholesterol (LDL and TG), and increases good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Possible side effects include is dizziness, headache and diarrhea

CHOLESTEROL LOWERING MEDICATIONS

CHOLESTEROL LOWERING AGENTS

"STATINS"

Examples

Atorvastatin (Lipitor®), Pravastatin (Pravachol®), Rosuvastatin (Crestor®), Simvastatin (Zocor®) 

  • These medications reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver.
  • Statins can also increase good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Liver function tests should be monitored when starting therapy
  • Statins may cause muscle pain and weakness.  If you experience unexplained muscle pain while you are taking a statin, report this to your health care professional.

"FIBRATES"

Examples

Fenofibrate (Lipidil Supra or Micro®), Gemfibrozil (Lopid®)

  • Fibrates increase the breakdown of bad cholesterol (triglycerides) and increases the amount of good cholesterol (HDL)

Possible side effects include muscle pain or weakness, upset stomach and constipation.  If you experience unexplained muscle pains will taking a fibrate, report this to your health care professional.

DIURETICS

DIURETICS ("Fluid/Water Pills")

Examples

Furosemide (Lasix®), Hydrochlorothiazide (Diuril®), Indapamide (Lozide®), Spironolactone (Aldactone®)

  • Water pills act on the kidneys to help remove extra water and salt from the body and this helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Diuretics can also help to decrease ankle swelling and remove excess fluid from the lungs.
  • Diuretics can cause you to pee more often: it is important to take your pill in the morning or early afternoon to avoid getting up in the middle of the night to use the washroom. 
  • Possible side effects include dizziness and increased urination.  Some diuretics cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to wear sunscreen.

NITRATES

NITROGLYCERIN

Examples

Fast-acting: spray or tablets (Nitrospray® Nitrostat®)

Long-acting: topical patch, Isosorbibe dinitrate (Isordil®), Isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur®)

  • These medications help arteries to widen and relax, allowing an increased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart
  • Nitroglycerin is used in patients that have angina. You should always sit down before you use the fast-acting nitroglycerin, as it can make you dizzy and lightheaded.
  • Possible side effects include headaches, dizziness and lightheadedness.
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