Cardiac medications

There are several types of medication that may be prescribed to you by your GP or specialist. Understanding what they are for is helpful in ensuring you take them as prescribed.

Always consult with your specialist if you are uncertain about any of the medications you are taking. Never stop taking a medication without consent from your specialist.



Aspirin is sometimes used to lower the risk of blood clots in patients who have artificial heart valves or certain other heart conditions. Aspirin also reduces pain and inflammation associated with heart disease.

It is also used to prevent heart attacks in people who have had a heart attack in the past, or who have chest pain that occurs when the heart does not get enough oxygen.




Clopidogrel reduces your risk of a future heart attack or stroke by preventing blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. It also enables blood to flow more easily around the body.



Metoprolol, Betaloc

Decreases the heart’s need for blood and oxygen and therefore reduces the amount of work the heart has to do. It also widens the blood vessels in the body and helps the heart to beat more regularly, by reducing high blood pressure.


Calcium Channel Blockers

Diltiazem, Cardizem

Used to treat high blood pressure and to control angina (chest pain), Diltiazem works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard. It also increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.


ACE Inhibitors

Quinapril, Accupril

Used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. It is used in combination with other medications to treat heart failure. It works by decreasing certain chemicals that tighten the blood vessels, so blood flows more smoothly and the heart can pump blood more efficiently.




When you have heart failure, your heart does not pump strongly enough. This causes fluids to build up in your body. If you drink too many fluids, you may get symptoms such as swelling, weight gain and shortness of breath. Diuretics help your body to get rid of extra fluid. They are often called “water pills.”



Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack, death from heart disease, or stroke, by reducing your low density lipo-protein LDL levels (bad cholesterol) in the blood stream and raising good cholesterol levels. They also slow the formation of plaques in your arteries.



Warfarin, Dabigatran (Pradaxa), Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

Used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in your blood and blood vessels. Prescribed for patients with certain types of irregular heartbeat and people with prosthetic (replacement or mechanical) heart valves.


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Remuera, Auckland 1051

PO Box 17 187,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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