The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Vasodilators help dilate or widen blood vessels. People with
have blood vessels that are narrowed, which reduces the amount of blood that can be delivered to the heart muscle. Nitrates or nitroglycerin may be used to immediately relieve an attack of
that is occurring, or prevent or reduce future attacks. Nitrates come in many preparations, including tablets, sprays for use under the tongue, ointments, or patches for placement on the skin. The tablets or sprays are used at times of anginal episodes, while the ointment or patch is used on a daily basis for prevention of attacks.
Possible side effects include: HeadacheLightheadedness or faintness from low blood pressure
Rapid heart rate—
tachycardiaFlushing of face and neckNausea or vomitingRestlessness
These medications help slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure, especially during exercise. They are intended to prevent anginal attacks or
. Beta-blockers are also prescribed when recovering from a heart attack in order to lessen the likelihood of recurrence.
Possible side effects include: Decreased sexual abilityLightheadedness or faintness from low blood pressureTrouble sleeping/nightmaresUnusual tiredness or weakness
Breathing difficulty or
Statins are drugs that help to lower cholesterol levels and decrease inflammation. They are often prescribed to people diagnosed with
These medications may reduce the risk of
Possible side effects include: HeadacheStomach acheDiarrheaMuscle weaknessRarely, liver damage
These medications affect the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels dilate. The supply of blood and oxygen to the heart is increased, while the heart's workload is decreased. This helps to prevent anginal attacks, as well as lessen the possibility of heart attacks.
Possible side effects include: ConstipationSwollen legsUnusual tiredness or weaknessHeadachePalpitations
Antiplatelet agents prevent the formation of blood clots by keeping platelets from clumping and sticking together.
Possible side effects include: Nausea and vomitingDiarrheaSkin rash
Ringing in the ears—
tinnitusSkin bruisingIrritation of the stomach liningBleeding from the digestive system and other internal organsAllergic reaction
Anticoagulants are given to “thin” the blood, in an effort to prevent the formation of blood clots. The most serious side effect is bleeding.
Possible side effects include: Bloody or tarry black stoolsNosebleedsHeavy menstrual periodsEasy bruisingAllergic reaction
This medication, which contains a nitrate, dilates blood vessels by affecting the potassium flow in the heart cells and blood vessels.
is an anti-anginal medication that does not depend on reductions in heart rate or blood pressure. It reduces the frequency of anginal chest pain, but has not been shown to reduce heart attacks.
Possible side effects include: LightheadednessHeadacheNauseaConstipationPotential to interact with other medication—This medication should be avoided in people with liver or severe kidney disease.
ACE inhibitors work to dilate blood vessels by interfering with the action of angiotensin, a chemical that contracts and narrows blood vessels.
Possible side effects include: CoughHeadacheLightheadednessIncreased levels of potassium in the blood