Heart Failure Treatments
If you have been diagnosed with heart failure, medications may improve your heart function, making it stronger and smaller, while slowing the progression of the disease. Many variables determine which medications are appropriate, including the degree of heart failure, the presence of kidney dysfunction and other diseases the patient may have. Medications used to treat heart failure include:
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: These medications open up your blood vessels to allow the heart to pump blood more effectively. They also block neurohormones that can damage the heart.
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs): Sometimes used as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, ACE inhibitors, these medications also open up blood vessels to allow the heart to pump blood.
- Beta blockers: As the name implies, these medications block the effect of neurohormones, which can damage the heart. Beta blockers also slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
- Diuretics: Commonly known as “water pills,” these medications help rid the body of excess fluid and sodium that causes the body to retain fluid.
- Digoxin: This medication helps strengthen the force of your heart’s contraction.
- Spironolactone/eplernone: This medication blocks aldosterone, a hormone produced by the body that can increase heart failure symptoms.
Be sure to always take your medication daily, just as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Use a chart or list to keep track of all medications and bring this list with you to all of your medical appointments. Do not skip doses or stop taking any medicine without first talking with your physician or nurse.