The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medication categories 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.
Emergency medical personnel may begin treating you with medications before you reach the hospital. At the hospital, additional drugs will be given and you will likely receive medications to take at home after you are discharged.
Common names include: MorphineDilaudidFentanyl
Morphine is given to relieve chest pain.
Possible side effects include: ConstipationNausea and vomitingItchingLightheadednessSedation
Nitrates help relieve chest pain by dilating the arteries, which allows more blood to flow to the heart muscle. Early in treatment, nitroglycerin may be given as a tablet placed under the tongue or infused through a vein. Long-term nitroglycerin may be given on a regular basis through a patch, paste, or orally to control chronic chest pain.
Possible side effects include: Low blood pressureHeadache
Common names include: Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)StreptokinaseReteplaseTenecteplaseLanoteplase
A drug to dissolve or break up blood clots in the coronary artery may be given via an IV. Early treatment, within 3 hours of the
heart attack, offers the best chance for good results. Your medical history, age, and condition may prevent treatment with clot-busting drugs.
Possible side effects include: StrokeHemorrhage
During a heart attack, damage to the heart muscle can increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Unstable heart rhythms can prevent the heart from effectively pumping blood, and if serious, lead to sudden death. Antiarrhythmic drugs help the heart beat more normally, usually by suppressing abnormal beats or by regulating the heart rate.
There are a wide variety of drugs available to treat the various causes of abnormal rhythms. In emergencies, some of these drugs are given via an IV. Oral forms of medication are used to treat more chronic
. The main issue with these drugs is that unless the underlying rhythm problem can be corrected, they must be taken indefinitely. One of the more unpredictable side effects of some of these medications is the risk of making the arrhythmia worse. Talk to your doctor about the specific side effects or warning signs to watch for based on the drug you are taking.
Sodium channel blockers are a type of antiarrhythmic drugs. Examples of these medications include: ProcainamideQuinidineDisopyramideLidocaineFlecainideTocainideAmiodaroneMexiletinePropafenoneMoricizine
Common names include: AcebutololAtenololBetaxololMetoprololNadololPindololPropranololTimololCarvedilolNebivolol
Beta-blockers are another type of antiarrhythmic drugs. Beta-blockers decrease demands on the heart and lower blood pressure. They may limit the amount of heart damage and help to prevent future heart attacks.
They can also be used for their antiarrhythmic effects.
Possible side effects include: Low blood pressureSlow heart rateFatigueSexual dysfunction
Action potential-prolonging agents are another type of antiarrhythmic drugs. Examples of these medications include: BretyliumSotalolDofetilide
Common names include: AmlodipineFelodipineIsradipineNicardipineNifedipineVerapamilDiltiazem
Another type of antiarrhythmic drugs, calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. These may be given to patients who cannot take beta blockers. They can also be used for their antiarrhythmic effects.
Possible side effects include: Low blood pressureLightheadednessConstipation
Common names include: EnalaprilLisinoprilQuinapril
ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and help lower mortality in people who sustain significant damage to the heart muscle.
Possible side effects include: Persistent dry, unproductive coughLow blood pressureHeadacheLightheadednessSwellingSkin rashes
Common names include: CandesartanIrbesartanLosartanValsartan
Possible side effects include: HeadacheLightheadednessNasal congestionBack and leg painDiarrhea
Common names include: TiclopidineClopidogrelPrasugrel
Antiplatelet drugs help prevent the blood from clotting. They may be given when aspirin cannot be used.
They may also be given in conjunction with aspirin to people who have had an
Possible side effects include: BleedingDiarrheaStomach upset
Common names include: HeparinWarfarinBivalirudin
Anticoagulants help to prevent the blood from clotting. It is often given to people during heart procedures or after a clot-busting drug treatment.
Possible side effects include: Internal bleeding
Common names include: AtorvastatinPravastatinLovastatinSimvastatinFluvastatinRosuvastatin
Statins are drugs that help to lower blood cholesterol levels. They may be prescribed along with a low cholesterol diet if you have
Atorvastatin may reduce the risk of repeat stroke or heart attack.
Possible side effects include: HeadacheMuscle painLiver damage (rare)