8 Things To Remember When You’re Taking Heart Medicine

Millions of people take some kind of heart medicine. Some people need a variety of different medicines to strengthen heart function, lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, or stabilize heart rhythms. These medicines can be life giving — and powerful. Even a small drop in your blood pressure reading can cut your risk of having a heart attack.

At the same time, taking these medicines the wrong way or stopping them without first consulting your healthcare provider could be dangerous, even fatal.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offer the following medication advice.

Keep a current list of all your medicines.

Keeping a list of your medicines will help you stay on top of what you need to take and when. It’s also important information to share with every healthcare provider you see to ensure your care is managed safely and appropriately.

Some people keep a list of their medicines on a computer so they can easily update it. You may also keep it on your smart phone. Record the name of the medicine, the dosage you take, and the medicine’s purpose — for example, “heart rhythm” or “blood pressure.” Keep a copy of this list in your wallet or purse so you will always have it with you for doctors’ appointments or in an emergency.

Make medicines part of your routine.

What’s easiest for you to remember: Taking your meds every evening before brushing your teeth? Every morning with breakfast? Just be sure to follow any medicine instructions. Some statins, for example, which are cholesterol-reducing medicines, often work better taken before bed, because the body tends to  make more cholesterol at night. Many people find a pill box with days of the week divided by times of day very helpful, especially if they are taking a lot of medicine. Some heart medicines can be very dangerous if accidentally doubled or missed, a pill box can make keeping track a lot easier.