I am
Heart medicines – Frequently asked questions
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart medicines – Frequently asked questions

Find answers below to frequently asked questions about heart medicines.

Key takeaways

  • Take your medicines as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t crush or break tablets, or open capsules, unless your doctor or pharmacist has told you to. 
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before you stop taking a medicine or change the dose. This is important, even if you feel well.
  • All medicines have possible side effects. Before starting a new medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects. If you get a side effect, speak to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new ‘over-the-counter’ medicine. Common over-the-counter medicines include aspirin, pain medicines, cold and flu tablets, supplements and vitamins.
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are finding it difficult to take your medicines, including if you have trouble remembering to take them.
  • If your medicines are too expensive, have a chat to your doctor or pharmacist about what options are available.  

If you take a heart medicine, you may have a few questions. It’s important you understand your medicines, what they’re for, and how to take them correctly. If you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor may have started you on several medicines before leaving hospital. You will need to keep taking these when you go home.  

If you have a question that is not in the list below, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also call the NPS MedicineWise Medicines Line 1300 633 424.

Why is it important to take my heart medicines?

It is important to take your heart medicines to:

  • Reduce your risk of future heart problems.
  • Manage your symptoms.
  • Improve your quality of life.
  • Help keep you out of hospital.
  • Help you live longer.
Each medicine can help your heart in different ways.

Last reviewed: 09/09/2021

References

1.           Arfè A, Scotti L, Varas-Lorenzo C, et al. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of heart failure in four European countries: nested case-control study. BMJ. 2016;354:i4857. doi:10.1136/bmj.i4857
2.           Kim J, Choi J, Kwon SY, et al. Association of multivitamin and mineral supplementation and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2018;11(7):e004224. doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.117.004224
3.           Abdelhamid AS, Brown TJ, Brainard JS, et al. Omega‐3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2020;(3). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003177.pub5
4.           Al‐Khudairy L, Flowers N, Wheelhouse R, et al. Vitamin C supplementation for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2017;(3). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011114.pub2
5.           Liperoti R, Vetrano DL, Bernabei R, Onder G. Herbal medications in cardiovascular medicine. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1188-1199. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.11.078
6.           Jenkins DJA, Spence JD, Giovannucci EL, et al. Supplemental vitamins and minerals for CVD prevention and treatment. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;71(22):2570-2584. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2018.04.020
7.           Cross AJ, Elliott RA, Petrie K, Kuruvilla L, George J. Interventions for improving medication‐taking ability and adherence in older adults prescribed multiple medications. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2020;(5). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012419.pub2

You might also be interested in

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

Your heart medicines

Your heart medicines

Your heart medicines

Information about commonly prescribed heart medicines. ...

Research Directory

Research Directory

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Permanent Pacemaker (PPM)

Permanent Pacemaker (PPM)

A small, battery-powered device that is fitted under the skin of your upper chest....

Moroccan spiced fish with couscous and raisin salad

Moroccan spiced fish with couscous and raisin salad

10 minutes
Serves 4

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Cardiovascular disease risk factors and heart attack warning signs in women

Information for healthcare professionals and the public on cardiovascular disease risk factors and warning signs affecting women. ...

Jaxson skips through a bucket list of Sydney landmarks

Jaxson skips through a bucket list of Sydney landmarks

Jaxson skips through a bucket list of Sydney landmarks

Media Release - 15 September 2020...

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

Emotional wellbeing is like having a garden, sometimes it grows green on its own, other times it needs watering, cutting back or fertilising....

Our history

Our history

Our history

For more than 60 years the Heart Foundation has been helping improve heart health across the nation....

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Explore some useful things to know about intimacy after a heart attack....

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Finding time for physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart...

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart teaches school children how to keep fit and healthy through skipping!...

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Heart Foundation Research Alumni Events

Heart Foundation Research Alumni Events

Heart Foundation Research Alumni Events

Check back in for the latest updates on our alumni-exclusive events ...

For professionals: Guidelines for acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

For professionals: Guidelines for acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

Australian  guidelines  for  prevention, diagnosis and  management of  acute  rheumatic  fever and  rheumatic  heart  disease ...

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Projects aimed at improving the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ...

Blueberry cheesecake oats

Blueberry cheesecake oats

Blueberry cheesecake oats

10 minutes
Serves 2

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm....

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

Heart Foundation reviews its operations in challenging financial environment

6 September 2021...

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes is an ongoing health condition where your body’s usual ways of controlling your blood sugar, or blood glucose levels, don’t work properly. ...

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

Apple & honey nut crumble oats

10 minutes

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and exercise can benefit your heart, body and mind....

Heart stories

Heart stories

Heart stories

Stories of hope from Australian men and women fighting heart disease....

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Check back in for the latest updates on Supporting Young Heart events...