Common Heart Failure Medications

Individuals diagnosed with heart failure typically take 5 or more different medications daily. Each medication works in a different way to improve your heart failure condition. Some heart failure medications help you live longer by improving the heart's function, while others help to relieve symptoms allowing you to live a better quality of life. Keep a current list of your medications with you at all times (in your wallet or purse).


Beta-blockers

These drugs work to slow down the heart rate, reduce heart rhythm problems, lower the blood pressure and make the heart stronger. They are shown to help individuals with heart failure live longer, healthier lives.

• carvedilol (Coreg, Coreg CR)
• metoprolol succinate (Toprol-XL)
• bisoprolol (Zebeta)

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors dilate (widen) blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump blood through the vessels. These medications are shown to help people with heart failure live longer, healthier lives.

• captopril (Capoten)
• fosinopril (Monopril)
• ramipril (Altace)

• enalapril (Vasotec)
• quinapril (Accupril)
• lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers

These drugs work similarly to ACE inhibitors to relax the blood vessels and are frequently used to replace ACE inhibitors that cause coughing.

• losartan (Cozaar)
• valsartan (Diovan)
• candesartan (Atacand)

Aldosterone Blockers

These blockers work by blocking the effects of a stress hormone called aldosterone.

• aldactone (Spironolactone)
• eplerenone (Inspra)

Vasodilators

Vasodilators may be used to relax the blood vessels and decrease the workload on the heart. This medication is sometimes used when a person cannot take an ACE inhibitor.

• hydralazine (Apresoline)
• isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil, Sorbitrate)
• nitroglycerin (Nitrodur, Transderm)
• isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur)
• hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrte (Bidil)

Digoxin (Lanoxin, Digitek)

Digoxin may improve symptoms through a variety of mechanisms, including helping the heart beat stronger and/or controlling the heart rhythm.

Diuretics

Diurectics are commonly referred to as “water pills” because they help the kidneys rid excess water and salt from the body (through the urine). Diuretics can decrease fluid in the lungs to help ease breathing and also pull fluid away from the belly, legs, hands, and feet.

• furosemide (Lasix)
• bumetanide (Bumex)
• torsemide (Demadex)

• metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
• chlorothiazide (Diuril)
• hydrochlorothiazide (Hydro-Diuril)

Potassium

Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body that is often lost with increased urine output. Potassium supplements are frequently needed when taking diuretics.

• K+ Potassium
• K-Dur®
• K-Lor®
• K-Tab®

• Kaon-Cl-
• Kay Ciel®
• Klor-Con®
• microK

Inotropes

Inotropes are intravenous drugs used in advanced heart failure to stimulate the weakened heart to pump more effectively. These drugs increase the force of the heart's contractions and relax the blood vessels. The goal is to improve the amount of blood that is ejected from the weakened heart and circulated to the rest of the body.

• dobutamine (Dobutrex)
• milrinone (Primacor)