What do I need to know if I am taking medicine for my heart condition?
The treatment of most heart
conditions requires the use of prescription drugs. In fact, many people need to
take many different pills, several times each day, to treat their heart
Follow your doctor's instructions
Medicines only work if they are taken
properly. So it is very important to understand how many times per day each
medicine should be taken and exactly which dosage you should be taking. It is
also extremely important that you take these drugs at the prescribed times and
in the prescribed dosages. If you do not take your medicines the way they are
prescribed, they may not work properly. Not following your doctor's
instructions may result in ineffective treatment that may lead to serious
complications of your condition.
Adding a medicine regimen into
your lifestyle can be a challenge and requires a strong commitment on your
part. Your medicine schedule needs to become a routine part of your daily
activities. If you have trouble remembering when to take your medicines, you
may find the following tips useful.
Managing your medicines
Organize your medicines in a pillbox so that you
do not mistakenly skip any doses.
Set a watch alarm to avoid
missing scheduled medicine times.
Schedule medicine times on a
handheld computer or in an appointment book.
Ask a friend or family
member to help you organize your medicines and remind you when it is time to
Keep a detailed list of all medicines you are on,
including a description of their color and shape. If your doctor changes your
medicines, it will be easier to tell them apart.
Take medicines at
the same time every day in order to incorporate them into your regular
Carry an extra dose of medicines with you when leaving
the house, just in case you are unable to return home in time for the next
Keeping good records
Keep detailed records of your medicine treatment, including:
A notebook with an up-to-date list of the names
and dosages of your medicines.
A list of medicines that you used to
take and notes about why they were discontinued.
A list of any
medicines you are allergic to or had an adverse reaction to and descriptions of
each allergic or adverse reaction.
The name and phone number of
The names, phone numbers, and addresses of all your
Charts of your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate (as
often as they are measured).
What if I miss a dose of my medicine?
If you miss a dose of one of your medicines, you
should discuss the situation with your doctor or a nurse. For some medicines,
missing one or two doses does not cause a major problem. For other medicines,
missing a single dose can cause serious problems.
NOT assume that if you miss a single dose, the next dose
should be doubled. Many medicines can cause significant problems and even
long-term health concerns if taken in a double dose.
Changes in your medicine treatment
It may also
take some trial and error for you and your doctor to find a medicine or
combination of medicines that effectively manages your condition and symptoms.
For this reason, you may end up trying a range of medicines within one medicine
class or across a number of medicine classes.
Make sure that you
discuss any changes in your medicines with your doctor. Your medicine regimen
has been prescribed for a reason, and even slight changes can greatly affect
Interactions with other medicines
The medicines your doctor prescribes may
sometimes interact with other prescription or nonprescription medicines as well
as any other dietary supplements or herbal remedies. It is therefore important
to be aware of which substances will interfere with your treatment regimen. You
should tell your doctor about every substance you are taking on a regular
basis, whether it is a prescription medicine, an over-the-counter remedy, or an
What important facts should I know about medicines for heart conditions?
The treatment of
most cardiac conditions requires the use of prescription medicines. The amount
of time that you will be required to take medicines will vary depending upon
your specific medical condition. Some people will stop taking medicines when an
appropriate level of rehabilitation has been reached. Other people will be
required to take medicines for the rest of their lives.
doctor may prescribe many medicines for you. Your ability to know and
understand the purpose of each medicine is important. For each medicine, you
should be able to answer the following questions:
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.