Heart Medications

Below is a list of medications your physician may prescribe to treat your heart condition. These medicines do several things, including:

  • Help the heart muscle pump better
  • Keep your blood from clotting
  • Lower your cholesterol levels
  • Open up blood vessels or slow your heart rate so your heart doesn't have to work as hard
  • Reduce damage to the heart
  • Reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms

It is important that you follow your doctor’s directions for taking your medicines. To prevent possible drug interactions, you should also tell your doctor about any other medications and supplements you are taking. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your medications.

CHI Health’s online Medication Medication Checker lets you check for potential interactions between drugs. Read information about specific drugs in CHI Health’s online Drug Information Guide.

ACE Inhibitors or ARBs

ACE inhibitors or ARBs block a hormone in the body that is responsible for causing the blood vessels to constrict


Medicines that correct heartbeat irregularities

Antiplatelet Drugs or Blood Thinners

Medicines, such as aspirin and warfarin (brand name, Coumadin) prevent blood cells (platelets) from clumping together to form a clot.


Drugs that treat angina (chest pain) and heart rhythm disorders by blocking the effects of adrenaline on your body's beta receptors.  

Calcium Channel Blockers

These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure, correct abnormal heart rhythm, and relieve chest pain (angina). Calcium Channel Blockers slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. This causes blood vessels to relax, and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while reducing the heart's workload.

Clot Busters

Also called Thrombolytics, clot busters are powerful drugs that dissolve a major clot quickly, enabling blood flow and helping prevent damage to the heart muscle.

Digitalis or Digoxin

Helps the heart muscle pump better

Diuretics or “water pills”

Drugs that make your body rid itself of excess water and salt, mostly by increasing urination.

Inotropic  or heart pump drugs

An inotropic drug is a medicine that alters the force or strength of the heartbeats. There are two different types of inotropic drugs, negative and positive. Both kinds of heart pump drugs are used in the management of various conditions that affect the function of the heart.

Negative inotropes weaken the force of the heartbeat.  Examples of negative inotropes: beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, disopyramide, flecainide, procainamide and quinidine.

Positive inotropes strengthen the force of the heartbeat, so the heart can pump more blood with fewer beats. Examples of Positive inotropes: digoxin, dopamine, dobutamine, eicosanoids, epinephrine, inamrinone, isoprenaline, milrinone, norepinephrine, phosphodiesterase inhibitors and theophylline.  For severe heart failure, inotropic or heart pump drugs are medications are given intravenously.


Nitrates are medicines that are used to prevent and relieve chest pain. They work by dilating or widening blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily.

Potassium Supplements

Potassium is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves and digestive system. Diuretics (water pills) remove potassium from the body through urination. Potassium supplements are taken to replace potassium loss.


Cholesterol-lowering medicine

Thrombolytics (tPA)

Thrombolytics are used in the immediate treatment of heart attack and stroke. They work by dissolving a major clots quickly, enabling blood flow to prevent damage to the heart muscle.


Vasodilators ease the strain on the heart by opening blood vessels by relaxing their muscular walls.