In order to enhance recuperation after a heart attack or unstable angina, and to prevent their recurrence, several medications, all of which have been scientifically proven to be useful, will be prescribed. These medications have been studied in tens of thousands of patents and are well tolerated in the vast majority of cases.
There are 4 main groups of medications:
They «fluidify» the blood and in doing so reduce the risk of clot formation. The main medication in this class is aspirin. Often, in particular after the implantation of stents, it is necessary to take a second medication in this class.
ATTENTION: stopping aspirin or the second medication can lead to a new heart attack, as the stent can re-occlude. One must therefore never stop taking these medications without prior approval from your physician or cardiologist. The main side effect of these medications is bleeding, which is rarely serious.
They slow the heart rate, decrease blood pressure and diminish the work load of the heart. They have side effects which are often temporary, such as: head aches, fatigue, dizziness, gastro-intestinal problems, decreased libido, and impotence. There are several medications in this class and one that is better tolerated can therefore be prescribed.
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEI)
They dilate the arteries, decrease blood pressure and prevent progressive enlargement of the heart. They also decrease the risk of a recurrence of a heart attack. Their main side effect is cough. In these instances, we can propose another class of medication with similar effects. On beginning this type of medication, there may be dizziness, low blood pressure or decreased kidney function. All these aspects are closely followed.
They stabilize and can make atherosclerosis plaques regress, and decrease cholesterol levels, all of which leads to a decreased risk of recurrence of a cardiac event. They are generally well tolerated, but can provoke muscle pain. If this is the case speak with your physician/cardiologist.
Never stop medication without prior consent from your physician or cardiologist.
If a treatment is poorly tolerated, immediately inform your physician or cardiologist.
Last modification on 24/09/2010