The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
The following medications may be used to treat congestive heart failure. The generic drug name is listed first, with a common brand name(s) in parentheses:
Aldosterone receptor blockers are generally used to treat
. Inspra is the first drug in this class to receive additional FDA approval to treat patients who develop congestive heart failure following an acute
. Patients who received Inspra, along with other appropriate treatment, had a lower risk of death.
ACE inhibitors prevent the body from creating angiotensin II, a substance in the blood that causes vessels to tighten and raises blood pressure. As a result, ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and ease the heart’s workload. A number of studies have shown that ACE inhibitors are beneficial in reducing symptoms and prolonging life in patients with CHF. These medications should be considered in all patients who have CHF. Talk with your doctor to see if an ACE inhibitor is right for you.
Possible general side effects include:
Cough and occasional rash
Altered sense of taste
Increased potassium levels, altered kidney function
Vasodilators help dilate or enlarge blood vessels. People with CHF often have blood vessels that are constricted, which causes the heart to work harder pumping blood through the vessels. Vasodilators address this problem.
These are a newer class of medications similar to ACE inhibitors, but with a significantly lower frequency of cough as a side effect. The general side effects in angiotensin II receptor blockers were similar to that of placebos in most studies. Like ACE inhibitors, they may have very rare, but severe side effects. Doctors may prescribe this class of medicine for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors because of cough or other side effects. In selected groups of patients with severe CHF, ACE inhibitors may be used along with ARBs.
Beta-blockers help slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. They are used for mild to moderate CHF and are often used in conjunction with other medications such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and digoxin. Ask your doctor if a beta-blocker is right for you.
Possible side effects:
Decreased sexual ability
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Unusual tiredness or weakness
Low blood pressure
Decreased ability to participate in strenuous physical activity
Flather MD, Yusuf S, Kober L, et al. Long-term ACE-inhibitor therapy in patients with heart failure or left-ventricular dysfunction: a systematic overview of data from individual patients. ACE-Inhibitor Myocardial Infarction Collaborative Group.
Hunt SA, Abraham WT, Chin MH, et al. For: American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. ACC/AHA 2005 guideline update for the diagnosis and management of chronic heart failure in the adult.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a