I Want to Get Off of My Medications!

This is a common statement we hear all of the time. It’s understandable.. nobody likes taking pills. Some of these pills even have side effects like bruising, low energy, or muscle aches that we would just rather not deal with! But…Sometimes taking medications is what you may need to do to increase your chances of living a longer, better life.

There are common medications that a good number of people get put on after they have had a heart attack. Each medication is used for a different reason.

  1. Anti-platelets – makes platelets (cells that start blood clots) slippery. This reduces the chances of blood clots forming, therefore reducing the chance of another heart attack.If you had a stent put in to open up a blockage, you will most likely be on ASA for life and one of the other two medications for a set period of time (usually a year). It is extremely important to stay on these medications as prescribed so you don’t get a clot in the stent and cause a heart attack.
    • ASA (aspirin)
    • Ticagrelor (Brilinta)
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  2. Statins – Does two things. First lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) to reduce the plaque that gets deposited in your arteries, reducing the chance of further blockages.Secondly stabilizes any plaque that is already in your arteries, which reduces the risk of a plaque rupture causing a heart attack.

    (Examples.. there are others!)

    • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
    • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

    Whether your cholesterol is good or not…. if you have had a heart attack you need to be on a statin to reduce the risk of developing more blockages and having another heart attack.

  3. ACE or ARB – Used to relax blood vessels so your heart does not have to push as hard to move blood around your body. This gives your heart a chance to rest and recover.This will lower your blood pressure.

    (Examples…. There are others!)

    • ACE Inhibitors
    • Ramipril (Altace)
    • Perindopril (Coversyl)ARB’s
    • Valsartan (Diovan)
    • Telmisartin (Micardis)

    Both ACE & ARB’s basically do the same thing. If you are not tolerating one well, they can try the other.

  4. Beta Blockers – They slow down your heart and relax your blood vessels both to give your heart a chance to rest and recover.This will also lower your blood pressure.Examples…. There are more!
    • Metoprolol (Lopressor)
    • Bisoprolol (Monocor)

The medication you have been prescribed is the medication you are to take. It has been prescribed because of your own personal situation and health history. If you have issues or concerns, the best resource to discuss medications is either your doctor or your pharmacist.

The information presented in this post is general in nature and simply provides a little background to help you understand what these medications do and why you might be on them.

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Shawna Cook

Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.

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