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Heart Failure: Manage Your Medicines

Many different types of medicines are used to treat heart failure. Each type does a different job. Each type is sold under several different drug names. Your doctor or nurse will tell you about your medicines – their drug names and what type they are.

ACE inhibitors

ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme. ACE inhibitors are medicines that expand blood vessels and allow more blood to flow more easily. They help the heart pump better. They slow the disease process, so that patients may live longer and spend less time in the hospital.


These drugs help the heart to work better. They help slow down the disease process, so that patients may live longer and spend less time in the hospital.



These drugs help lower salt levels in the body. They remove excess water that causes difficulty breathing and swelling.



This medicine helps avoid fast or skipped heartbeats (palpitations). It helps make heart contractions stronger.



These drugs help open blood vessels to relieve fluid buildup and swelling.


Anti-dysrhythmic agents

These drugs help prevent abnormal heart rhythms.


Tips for managing your medicines

  • Ask questions about your medicines. Your doctor, pharmacist, and nurse are here to help you learn about your medicines and why they are important to helping you feel better.
  • Check the label. Be sure you are taking the correct medicine and have the correct dosage. Read the directions on the label and follow them.
  • Don’t take medicine in the dark. To avoid mistakes, always have an adequate amount
    of light.
  • Tell your doctor if you take any over-the counter-medicines or dietary supplements. These include vitamins, minerals, herbal medicines, and aspirin. Sometimes these can react with other medicines.
  • Report any new side effects. You may need to take a different dose of the medicine. Or your doctor may decide to try a different medicine.
  • Always carry a list of your medicines. This can help the health team in an emergency.

To help you keep track of your medicines, use a chart like the one below.



 Medicine Name Color and Shape Instructions/Time to Take Purpose Side Effects


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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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