Heart Medications Archive


Choosing the most beneficial blood thinner

Direct-acting oral anticoagulants (so-called "blood thinners") are prescribed to treat atrial fibrillation, deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the lung. Doctors also prescribe antiplatelet drugs to prevent blood clots in arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

RNA-targeted drugs for heart disease

RNA-targeted drugs work by preventing the synthesis of proteins involved in different diseases. One, called inclisiran (Leqvio), dramatically lowers LDL cholesterol with just two injections per year. Additional RNA-targeted drugs to lower elevated lipoprotein (a) and high blood pressure are currently in late-stage clinical trials.

How low should LDL cholesterol go?

People who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease can benefit from driving down "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels as low as possible to help reduce their risk for heart attacks and strokes. Guidelines recommend that people at high risk aim for LDL levels below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The general population should strive for levels below 100 mg/dL. Taking statins and adopting healthier lifestyle habits like following a plant-based diet and increasing exercise can help manage LDL levels.

Keto diet is not healthy and may harm the heart

According to a 2024 review, the ketogenic (keto) diet—which is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates—doesn't meet standards for a healthy diet and may not be safe for some people with heart disease.

Taming high triglycerides

Up to 30% of Americans have above-normal levels of triglycerides, which many studies have linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Lifestyle changes that can lower triglycerides include losing weight if needed; avoiding simple carbohydrates, sweets, and alcohol; cutting back on saturated fats; and doing regular exercise. For people whose levels remain high (especially those at risk for heart disease), medications such as fibrates or icosapent ethyl (Vascepa) may be helpful.

The best anti-clotting drug for afib?

Indirect evidence suggests that for people with atrial fibrillation who always take apixaban (Eliquis) every 12 hours as prescribed, it may be slightly better than once daily rivaroxaban (Xarelto).

Coated aspirin and regular aspirin: Similar benefits and risks

For preventing repeat heart attacks, coated aspirin is just as effective as regular aspirin, but it does not appear to provide extra protection against bleeding risk.

RNA-based drug shows promise for lowering blood pressure

In 2023, a small preliminary study found that single injection of a new RNA-based drug may lower blood pressure for up to six months.

Advances in managing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

About one in 500 people has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition that causes the walls of the heart to thicken and enlarge. It's often caused by genetic mutations and is the most common inherited form of heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, vigorous exercise appears to be safe for most people with HCM. For people with symptoms, several treatments are available, including mavacamten (Camzyos), a first-in-class medication that targets the underlying cause of HCM by inhibiting a protein that helps power heart muscle contractions.

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