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Medicines for Heart Disease

Medicines commonly used for Coronary Heart Disease

Tips to help you to remember to take your medicines

How do I take my medicines?

How should I store my medicines?

What else should I know about medicines?

Medicines commonly used for Coronary Heart Disease

If you have had a heart attack or have angina, your doctor will prescribe you several different medicines.  Taking medicines may be new to you and often seems overwhelming because there is a lot to remember. 

In this section we hope to answer most of the common questions about medicines and help you to understand why people who have had a heart attack or have angina need to take them, how they work and list the most common side effects. 

The medicines which are available today to treat angina and heart attacks are very effective but ONLY if taken exactly as directed by your doctor.

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 Tips to help you to remember to take your medicines

You could try one or more of the following ideas:

  • Take your medicines at the same time every day so it becomes a routine. 
  • Link taking your medicines with daily events such as tooth brushing or mealtimes. 
  • Special medicine boxes are available with compartments for the days of the week and different times of day - morning, noon, late afternoon and bedtime.  If you need one, ask your pharmacist or doctor.  
  • Ask relatives or friends to help to remind you. 
  • Keep a "medicine calendar" near your medicines and note every time you take your dose. 
  • Attach reminder notes to something you would normally use or see every day.

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How do I take my medicines?

Orally
You take most medicines by mouth as tablets, capsules or suspension.  You should take them preferably when you are standing or sitting upright. Wash tablets or capsules down with a glass of water.  This ensures that they reach your stomach without getting "stuck".  If you are lying or sitting, wash the tablets or capsules down with a glass of water then try to take a little of something solid (bread or fruit - banana is good).

If you have trouble swallowing then tell your pharmacist. They can help to get your medicines in a different form that you can swallow more easily.

Sublingually (under your tongue)
You take some medicines under your tongue.  These tablets are placed under your tongue where they dissolve; the medicine is taken into your body quickly through the linings of your mouth.  There is also a sublingual spray, which is used to spray the medicine under the tongue.

Buccal Tablets
These tablets have a rapid onset of effect. They are placed between the upper lip and gum, and left to dissolve: the placement of the tablet should be varied to reduce the risk of dental cavities.

Self-adhesive Patch
A patch containing the medicine is put onto your skin and the medicine goes into your body through the skin. 

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How should I store my medicines?

  • Keep all medicines away from heat, sunlight and moisture or dampness.  You should try to store them in a locked cupboard. 
  • Keep all medicines in their original containers (unless using one of the special medicine boxes mentioned above) and do not remove the labels. 
  • Keep all medicines out of reach of children because "childproof" bottles don't always stop determined children.

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What else should I know about medicines?

  • Always get your prescription filled in in time so you don't run out.  Don't forget to order in time at Christmas, Easter and other holiday times. 
  • Try to use the same pharmacy each time. 
  • Never stop taking your medicine without speaking to your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist first. 
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose.  Even if you forget to take a dose, do not take double the next time to make up for the one missed. 
  • Always ask your pharmacist before buying over-the counter medicines to be sure they won't affect your prescription medicines.  Some important ones, which can interfere, are cough and cold remedies, painkillers and fizzy cures for heartburn or indigestion. 
  • If you have any questions about your medicines, make a note to remind yourself to ask your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist. 
  • Tell your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist if you think you have any side effects. 
  • Try to remember the name of your medicine and the dose.  Most medicines have two names.  One is the proper or generic name (which is the active ingredient) and the other is the brand name.  The manufacturer chooses the brand name. 
  • It is a good idea to keep a list of the names and doses of your medicines in your purse or wallet.

Remember - NEVER give your medicine to anyone else.  It may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours. 

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