Heart Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

12. What medicines are used to treat people who have had or are having a heart attack?

There are many medicines that are used to treat a heart attack.

  • Clot-busters or thrombolytic drugs dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart.
  • Beta blockers decrease the workload on your heart by slowing your heart rate.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors lower your blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart.
  • Nitrates, such as nitroglycerin relax blood vessels and relieve chest pain.
  • Anticoagulants thin the blood and prevent clots from forming in your arteries.
  • Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin and clopidogrel, stop platelets from clumping together to form clots. These medications are given to people who have had a heart attack, have angina, or have had angioplasty.

Doctors may also prescribe medicines to relieve pain and anxiety, or to treat irregular heart rhythms which often occur during a heart attack.