Treatment With Medication
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Medications for heart valve disease

If you are diagnosed with heart valve disease, medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help relieve symptoms and decrease the risk of further damage to your heart.

Although helpful, medications cannot reverse damage to your heart valve. In some cases the damage continues to progress even with medications, and further actions must be taken.  Ask your doctor about heart valve repair or replacement surgery. Both procedures are commonly used and highly effective in treating heart valve conditions. You may even be able to stop taking certain medications after surgery.

Your doctor may prescribe the following medications when you are first diagnosed with heart valve disease:


Types of medications

 What they do

Risks and complications

ACE inhibitors A type of vasodilator (see below) used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure

Decreased sense of taste, lowered blood pressure, confusion, tingling in extremities. Can cause body to retain too much potassium. ***

Antiarrhythmic medications Control the heart's rhythm Chest pain, blurred vision, bitter/metallic taste in mouth, light sensitivity. ****
Anticoagulants ("blood thinners") Reduces the risk of developing blood clots on your heart valve Alcohol and smoking can decrease effectiveness of medication; vitamin k-rich foods can also interfere with medication. Avoid activities with high risk of injury since it could result in excessive bleeding. *
Beta-blockers Treat high blood pressure and lessen the heart's work by helping the heart beat slower and less forcefully; decrease palpitations in some patients Weight gain, cold hands/feet, difficulty sleeping/nightmares, heartburn, dry eyes. Do not take if you have conditions that affect your breathing (asthma), may mask symptoms of low blood sugar. **
Diuretics
("water pills")
Remove extra fluid from the tissues and bloodstream; lessen the symptoms of heart failure Tingling in extremities, frequent urination, muscle cramps/joint pain, dry mouth, thirst, dehydration, blurred vision, sweating, ringing in ears, unusual bleeding/bruising, sensitivity to light. Can reduce levels of potassium/magnesium and may cause impotence. ***
Vasodilators Lessen the heart's work by dilating or relaxing the blood vessels; encourage blood to flow in a forward direction, rather than backward through a leaky valve

Body hair growth, chest/joint pain, weight gain, flushing of face/neck, unusual bleeding/bruising. Do not take if on bisulfates. Avoid taking over the counter medications for cough, cold, sinuses, asthma, allergies or appetite control. **

* headache, dizziness/lightheadedness/fainting, fever, upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting, irregular heartbeat
** headache, dizziness/lightheadedness/fainting, fever, upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, swelling of feet/legs
*** headache, dizziness/lightheadedness/fainting, fever, upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting, irregular heartbeat, rash, loss of appetite/weight loss, sore throat, dry cough
**** headache, dizziness/lightheadedness/fainting, fever, upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, swelling of feet/legs, rash, loss of appetite/weight loss, sore throat, dry cough
 
This information is not a substitute for talking with your doctor.