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Heart medicines – Frequently asked questions
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Heart medicines – Frequently asked questions

Find answers below to frequently asked questions about heart medicines.

Key takeaways

  • Take your medicines as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t crush or break tablets, or open capsules, unless your doctor or pharmacist has told you to. 
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you stop taking a medicine or change the dose. This is important, even if you feel well.
  • All medicines have possible side effects. Before starting a new medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects. If you get a side effect, speak to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new ‘over-the-counter’ medicine. Common over-the-counter medicines include aspirin, pain medicines, cold and flu tablets, supplements and vitamins.
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are finding it difficult to take your medicines, including if you have trouble remembering to take them.
  • If your medicines are too expensive, have a chat to your doctor or pharmacist about what options are available.  

If you take a heart medicine, you may have a few questions. It’s important you understand your medicines, what they’re for, and how to take them correctly. If you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor may have started you on several medicines before leaving hospital. You will need to keep taking these when you go home.  

If you have a question that is not in the list below, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also call the NPS MedicineWise Medicines Line 1300 633 424.

Why is it important to take my heart medicines?

It is important to take your heart medicines to:

  • Reduce your risk of future heart problems.
  • Manage your symptoms.
  • Improve your quality of life.
  • Help keep you out of hospital.
  • Help you live longer.
Each medicine can help your heart in different ways.

Last reviewed: 09/09/2021

References

1.           Arfè A, Scotti L, Varas-Lorenzo C, et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of heart failure in four European countries: nested case-control study. BMJ. 2016;354:i4857. doi:10.1136/bmj.i4857
2.           Kim J, Choi J, Kwon SY, et al. Association of multivitamin and mineral supplementation and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2018;11(7):e004224. doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.117.004224
3.           Abdelhamid AS, Brown TJ, Brainard JS, et al. Omega‐3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2020;(3). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub5
4.           Al‐Khudairy L, Flowers N, Wheelhouse R, et al. Vitamin C supplementation for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2017;(3). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011114.pub2
5.           Liperoti R, Vetrano DL, Bernabei R, Onder G. Herbal medications in cardiovascular medicine. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1188-1199. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.11.078
6.           Jenkins DJA, Spence JD, Giovannucci EL, et al. Supplemental vitamins and minerals for CVD prevention and treatment. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;71(22):2570-2584. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2018.04.020
7.           Cross AJ, Elliott RA, Petrie K, Kuruvilla L, George J. Interventions for improving medication‐taking ability and adherence in older adults prescribed multiple medications. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2020;(5). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012419.pub2

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