Heart Medications Archive


One in five people at risk of heart disease shuns statins

A 2023 study found that one in five people at high risk for heart disease chose not to take a recommended statin drug. After a doctor's recommendation to start a statin, women were more likely than men to decline the medication.

Heart medication interactions

Certain drugs, supplements, or foods can interact with common heart medications. Known as drug-drug or drug-nutrient interactions, these can occur at any point of the drug’s "life cycle:" absorption, metabolism, or excretion. When a drug or other substance alters the absorption or metabolism of another drug, this may reduce or increase its effects. For example, grapefruit juice can elevate blood levels of certain statins and potentially increase the risk of side effects.

Pressure shift

People often need several medications to adequately control high blood pressure. Doctors factor in more than age, sex, and race when deciding which of the 200-plus available blood pressure drugs might work for a person. Doctors also consider diet, activity levels, reproductive history, and other chronic conditions and medications. Consistent blood pressure control can be challenging, and doctors can collaborate with patients to minimize side effects common to blood pressure medications, such as dizziness and lightheadedness.

Don't buy into dietary supplements for heart health

Statins were more effective at lowering cholesterol levels compared with six dietary supplements touted for heart health benefits, including managing cholesterol.

It may not be too late to protect against dementia

Older adults can still lower their risk for dementia by taking medication to decrease their high blood pressure, according to a recent study.

Better blood pressure control after a stroke may reduce risk of falls

Stroke survivors who take their blood pressure drugs as prescribed may be less likely to experience a serious fall compared with those who don't take their medications on schedule.

Muscle pain in statin users is probably not caused by the drug

While muscle pain is a possible side effect of taking statins, most discomfort is not caused by the drug, but most likely a "nocebo effect" where negative expectations can lead to perceived side effects.

Your guide to taking statins

Statins continue to be a first-line treatment for many people at risk of heart attacks and strokes. They help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce plaque build-up, and protect against plaque rupturing, and fight inflammation. Possible side effects are often mild, if they occur, and go away after a brief period. Otherwise, people can manage them by changing the dosage or switching to another type of statin, per their doctor's direction.

A lower blood pressure goal benefits some older adults

Taking an aggressive approach to lower high blood pressure with more medication can help many older adults reduce their risk for heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure. But they need to weigh the benefits with the potential side effects of extra medication.

The lowdown on "good" cholesterol

Long touted as beneficial for heart health, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is more complicated than experts once thought. Some forms of HDL grab cholesterol from the bloodstream and other tissues and transport it to the liver, where it's recycled or disposed, but other types are neutral or perform the opposite action. Most drugs that raise HDL don't seem to prevent heart disease, and very high HDL levels may even be linked to a higher risk.

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