HomeCHD & heart attackCHD and heart attack treatment - Medication

CHD and heart attack treatment - Medication

Have you been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) or had a heart attack? As part of the CHD treatment or heart attack treatment, you are now likely to take regular medication, e.g. after a stay in hospital or rehab. In this regard, taking medications regularly is an important pillar to improve your health as a heart patient. But what is there to know about blood thinners, blood pressure-lowering drugs, nitrospray and the like? Learn more about the most common medications used to treat CHD and heart attacks here.


At a glance

In addition to a heart-healthy lifestyle (e.g., cardiac exercise, Mediterranean diet), medications are an important part of CHD and heart attack treatment.

Roughly, cardiac medications fall into two categories: 1) Medications that reduce the incidence of or relieve symptoms (e.g., chest tightness or other pain). 2) Drugs that are intended to make cardiovascular events (e.g., heart attacks) less likely.

Common cardiac medications include antihypertensive medications, blood-thinning medications (med. anticoagulants), cholesterol-lowering medications, and for acute symptoms (e.g., a heart attack) nitrospray (med. nitroglycerin).

After heart attack or with CHD - What are the heart medications?

The majority of all heart patients take as Part of CHD treatment or therapy after myocardial infarction a Combination of different drugs. But which drug is best for coronary artery disease or heart attack treatment?

The European guidelines for the treatment of cardiac patients basically distinguish between two types of CHD drugs for heart patients with the diagnosis "chronic coronary syndrome" (e.g. CHD, myocardial infarction):

  1. Medication to CHD symptoms like chest tightness (med. angina pectoris) Reducefor example, if they are triggered by movement (med. stable angina pectoris). A frequently used drug in this context is the so-called Nitrospraywhich contains the active ingredient Nitroglycerin contains. Also antihypertensive drugs (med. antihypertensives or antihypertensive drugs) such as Beta blocker fall into this category of CHD medications. They are intended to Lower blood pressure and the Slow pulse.
  2. Medication to create a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack (med. myocardial infarction) or even the Cardiac death, to prevent. These include Cholesterol-lowering drug (med. lipid-lowering agents), which reduce the Keep LDL cholesterol low are intended. Medications that inhibit blood clotting (anticoagulants), also known colloquially as blood thinners or blood thinning medications referred to as, in addition. They are used, for example, in the form of Platelet inhibitors (med. platelet function inhibitors or platelet aggregation inhibitors) are taken.

When considering which medications are appropriate for CHD: An optimal CHD therapy or the treatment after myocardial infarction with medications is intended to Complaints of the heart patient as well as a feeling of tightness in the chest (med. angina pectoris)or shortness of breath. make more bearable and a cardiovascular event like a heart attack prevent. Cardiologists should use the drugs on the personal situation and risk factors of the patient (e.g. the presence of other diseases such as diabetes mellitus or a thyroid disease). vote

Are you a heart patient who regularly takes medication? The Vantis heart app will help you to Mastering medication use. The integrated Medication coach reminds you of taking your CHD medications and you can record any side effects that may occur.

Extra tip: The medication and health coach

Antihypertensives, beta-blockers - What medication for high blood pressure?

A common CHD symptom and additional risk factor for a heart attack or stroke is Hypertension (med. hypertension). Therefore antihypertensive drugs (med. antihypertensives or antihypertensive drugs) often as a Part of CHD treatment prescribed. The so-called antihypertensives are intended to reduce arterial stress by lowering the Slow pulse (heartbeat) and lower blood pressure. But which drug is best for high blood pressure and which antihypertensives have the fewest side effects? 

At the coronary heart disease so-called adrenergic blockers are frequently used, e.g. Beta blockers, prescribed. But when to take beta blockers and when not to take beta blockers? Beta blockers are mainly used as drug treatment after a heart attack or at a coronary heart disease used. Beta-blockers are partly associated with Side effects such as fatigue and exhaustion. In addition, beta-blockers are not recommended for certain groups of people, e.g., those suffering from asthma or acute heart failure (med. cardiac insufficiency).

ACE inhibitors (med. angiotensin-converting enzyme) are also considered to be Antihypertensive. They ensure that the Coronary arteries stay far and complete hardening of the arteries (med. arteriosclerosis) is prevented. You are especially suitable for patients with kidney disease or for men who have sexual dysfunction by other antihypertensive drugs (e.g. beta blockers) have developed. In this context, they are sometimes classified in the category of "antihypertensive drugs with side effects," because in some patients, they Complaints like chesty cough can trigger. Similar to ACE inhibitors act, by the way, the so-called Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Other medications that lower blood pressure also include Calcium channel blocker with a long duration of action, centrally acting alpha agonists, direct vasodilators, and diuretics.

And how dangerous are antihypertensives? It can become critical when antihypertensive drugs are used in Combination with certain other medications or in a Too high dosage be taken. Especially the latter can lead to low blood pressure (med. hypotension) and possibly dizziness. If in doubt, always ask your doctorwhen it comes to the combination of different drugs!

Cholesterol-lowering drugs - statins and co. for low LDL cholesterol

Cholesterol-lowering drug help to reduce the LDL cholesterol (med., English: low density lipoprotein) low. This contributes to the Risk for cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attacks) to reduce.

Typical cholesterol-lowering drugs are so-called Statins. But what do statins do in the body? They inhibit the formation of cholesterol and make so Arteriosclerosis (med. Arteriosclerosis) less likely. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular events. But which statin is the best? Approved in Germany, statins are with the active ingredients Lovastatin, Pravastatin, Simvastatin and Rosuvastatin.

Statins can partially lead to Side effects like muscle pain or Headache lead. But what can you take instead of statins, to lower the cholesterol level? For people who cannot tolerate statins, come Cholesterol-lowering drugs without statins, e.g. PCSK9 inhibitors such as evolocumab or alirocumab (brand names) or bempedoic acid may be considered.

By the way Vantis heart app helps you to take your medication. The integrated medication coach reminds Remind you to keep your CHD drugs to take and you can possible occurring side effects (e.g. muscle pain) capture

Anticoagulants - Why blood thinners in CHD?

Colloquially also Blood thinners or blood thinning medications called, Reduce anticoagulants (med. anticoagulants) the coagulability of the blood. Therefore, they are used to Making blood clots less likely. Put simply, the blood no longer clumps together so quickly and it becomes less likely that arteries will become clogged or narrowed. Especially with regard to (existing) arteriosclerosis of the coronary arteries, e.g. in the case of a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, the following are important factors Anticoagulants often an important part of therapy.

What types of anticoagulants are available at all? After a heart attack or stroke, for example due to arteriosclerosis, often Platelet Inhibitors used. Common active ingredient is acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), as also contained in aspirin (brand name). Often combined ASS is thereby combined with the Antiplatelet agents prasurgel or ticagrelor. Other anticoagulants include so-called oral anticoagulants. These include the direct oral anticoagulants (DOAK/NOAK) and, for example, vitamin K antagonists with the active ingredient phenprocoumon, such as the drug Marcumar (brand name). Whereas NOAKs are more likely to be recommended based on current evidence, as drugs with the active ingredient phenprocoumon. In the form of injections, anticoagulant drugs containing the active ingredients heparin and fondaparinux administered. Among other things, they are used for Thrombosis treatment used.

And what are the side effects of blood thinners? Blood thinners inhibit the body's own ability to clot blood. However, this ability is very important for wound healing! It can therefore take longer for bleeding (e.g. from injuries) to heal. This is especially important to remember if you are taking blood thinning medications in combination with other drugs as is often the case with CHD and heart attack patients.

Which blood thinning medications part of heart attack treatment or CHD therapy should be, Depends on personal circumstances and risk factors (e.g. age, pregnancy). Your cardiologist will help you with any questions.

For chest tightness and co. - For what do you take nitrospray?

To avoid the common symptom chest tightness (med. angina pectoris) and  Hypertension (med. hypertension) in cardiac patients to alleviate, is used as part of treatment after myocardial infarction or as CHD treatment for acute symptom relief, so-called Nitrospray (med. nitroglycerin) deployed. What exactly does the nitro spray do? Nitrospray dilates blood vessels and ensures that the heart muscle requires less oxygen (med. reduced myocardial oxygen demand). This can reduce chest tightness or improve blood flow to the heart.

Your cardiologist has the right answer for you to the question "How many times a day can you use nitrospray?". You can also find more information in the package insert. In general: Use nitrospray, if prescribed, for an acute angina attack. For some cardiac patients, it is also recommended to use nitro spray immediately before situations that may trigger an angina attack (e.g., physical exertion, severe stress). In addition Nitrospray in the event of an acute Suspicion of heart attack administered.

And when not to give nitro spray? It should not be combined with certain other active ingredients, e.g. sildenafil, which is contained in Viagra (brand name). Also should nitrospray with a low blood pressure (med. pronounced hypotension) or certain heart valve defects (med. aortic valve stenosis) should not be used, or only with caution.

You want to use the Keeping track of your medications? The Vantis heart app helps you take your medication. 

Extra tip: The medication and health coach

Let's go

If in doubt, especially if you are a heart patient or at increased risk of heart attack or other heart disease, always consult your physician. If you suspect a heart attack, contact the emergency number 112 immediately.

  1. Knuuti, J.; Wijns, W.; Saraste, A.; Capodanno, D.; Barbato, E.; Funck-Brentano, C.; Prescott, E.; Storey, R. F.; Deaton, C.; Cuisset, T.; Agewall, S.; Dickstein, K.; Edvardsen, T.; Escaned, J.; Gersh, B. J.; Svitil, P.; Gilard, M.; Hasdai, D.; Hatala, R.; Mahfoud, F.; Masip, J.; Muneretto, C.; Valgimigli, M.; Achenbach, S.; Bax, J. J.; ESC Scientific Document Group. 2019 ESC Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Chronic Coronary Syndromes. Eur. Heart J. 2020, 41 (3), 407-477. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz425.

  2. Sweis, R. N.; Jivan, A.. Medication for acute coronary syndromes - cardiovascular diseases. MSD Manual Professional Edition. https://www.msdmanuals.com/de-de/profi/herz-kreislauf-krankheiten/koronare-herzkrankheit/medikamente-bei-akuten-koronarsyndromen (retrieved Sept. 16, 2022).

  3. Bakris, G. L. Drug treatment of hypertension - cardiovascular diseases. MSD Manual Ausgabe für Patienten. https://www.msdmanuals.com/de-de/heim/herz-und-gef%C3%A4%C3%9Fkrankheiten/bluthochdruck/medikament%C3%B6se-behandlung-des-bluthochdrucks (abgerufen 16.09.2022).

  4. Riemer, T. G.; Villagomez Fuentes, L. E.; Algharably, E. A. E.; Schäfer, M. S.; Mangelsen, E.; Fürtig, M.-.A.; Bittner, N.; Bär, A.; Zaidi Touis, L.; Wachtell, K.; Majic, T.; Dinges, M. J.; Kreutz, R. Do β-Blockers Cause Depression?: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Psychiatric Adverse Events During β-Blocker Therapy. Hypertens. Dallas Tex 1979 2021, 77 (5), 1539–1548. https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.16590.

  5. MSD Manual. Table: Oral beta-blockers for hypertension. MSD Manual Professional Edition. https://www.msdmanuals.com/de-de/profi/multimedia/table/orale-betablocker-gegen-hypertonie (retrieved Sept. 16, 2022).

  6. Pschyrembel Editorial. Pschyrembel Online | Lipid Lowering Agent. https://www.pschyrembel.de/Lipidsenker/K0D5L (accessed Sept. 16, 2022).

  7. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). What are anticoagulants?. healthinformation.com. https://www.gesundheitsinformation.de/was-sind-gerinnungshemmer.html (accessed Sept. 16, 2022).

  8. AMBOSS database. Phenprocoumon and new oral anticoagulants - Knowledge @ AMBOSS. https://www.amboss.com/de/wissen/Phenprocoumon_und_neue_orale_Antikoagulantien (accessed Sept. 16, 2022).

  9. Mewis, C. 30.4 Nitrates and NO donors. In Cardiology compact; Thieme Verlag, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1055/b-0034-24300.

Share the article with acquaintances and friends!