What medication should I take?
When you were discharged from hospital you were probably given a lot of new drugs to take home with you. This might be quite an adjustment to make long-term, but your medication will play a key role in your recovery.
What drugs am I taking?1
You are likely to be taking a number of medications, which may include:
- Anti-platelets. Platelets are particles in the blood that cause it to clot. If they ‘stick’ onto a patch of plaque inside an artery, they go on to form a clot which blocks that artery. So anti-platelet medication helps prevent blood clots by making platelets less ‘sticky’. Most people will take asprin along with another anti-platelets such as clopidogrel, prasugrel or ticagrelor.
- Statins reduce the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ in your body. They do this by stopping the liver from overproducing cholesterol. Examples of statins might include atorvastatin, fluvastatin or pravastatin. The generic name of your statin will end in -vastatin.
- Beta-blockers reduce the strain on your heart by making it beat more slowly and lowering your blood pressure, helping to protect it from further damage. The generic name of Beta-blockers will end in -olol.
- ACE inhibitors stop some of the hormones that regulate blood pressure from working, so there’s less water in your blood and your arteries can widen. The generic name of ACE inhibitors will end in -pril.
Why do I need to take all these drugs?
Taking all your medications as your doctor prescribes is key to giving your heart the best chance of recovery and lowering the risk of a futher heart attack, or other events such as a stroke. Each one does a specific job to help improve your health as an individual – every prescription will be tailor-made to fit your specific needs.
If you stop taking your statins, the risk of having another heart attack will increase. Or if you’ve had stents put in your arteries, stopping your anti-platelet medicines can put the stents at risk of blocking off and causing another heart attack.
So if you’re having problems or unpleasant side effects, do speak to your doctor. They’ll be able to discuss your drugs with you, and prescribe alternatives if necessary.
FIND OUT MORE:
There is a lot you can do now that you’re home after a heart attack. Find out the 10 things you can do right now.
1https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/recovery/, Accessed November 2018