There are effective drugs available to treat cardiovascular diseases. A combination of active ingredients is often necessary to relieve symptoms and prevent disease progression and complications. There are essentially two large groups: Medicines that affect the cardiovascular system and Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs. In this post, let’s talk about the latter or what’s known as blood thinners.

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Blood thinners

If you have certain heart conditions, you may need to take medicines that reduce the ability of blood to clot or clot together blood platelets (thrombocytes). These medications are usually prescribed in cases as follows:

  • coronary artery disease and after a heart attack
  • certain cardiac arrhythmia (for example atrial fibrillation)
  • after heart valve surgery
  • after inserting a stent
  • or if you have had a blood clot in the past.

This is to prevent blood clots (thrombi) from forming, which can clog the blood vessels and lead to a reduced blood supply to organs. This is why these drugs are commonly referred to as “ blood thinners ”, even if the blood is not really “thinned”.

Examples of anticoagulants: heparin, coumarins (phenprocoumon, acenocumarol or warfarin) or active ingredients known as new oral anticoagulants (NOAC) such as apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban and rivaroxaban.

Examples of platelet inhibitors: the four most commonly prescribed antiplatelet drugs are acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), clopidogrel, prasugrel, and ticagrelor.

Tips on taking heart medication

What should you watch out for if you are prescribed medication?

  • Take your medication regularly, on time, and at the prescribed dose . Pay attention to whether you should take the medication before or after a meal. This is important so that the tablets can work optimally.
  • If you have to take several tablets, you can prepare the daily dose in small pill boxes that you can take with you wherever you go. Also, always take your medication plan with you.
    If you forget to take your medication, do not double the dose the next time you take it .
  • Please do not lose your patience too quickly if the hoped-for improvement does not occur immediately . Some drugs take some time to work optimally. In rare cases, you may even notice that your symptoms have worsened at first. You often only feel the benefits of this medication after taking it for a long time.
  • Continue to take your medication in the prescribed dose even if you feel well or have only minor symptoms, because you owe your well-being to the effects of your medication!
  • You should know about the main side effects . If you experience any of these, contact your doctor.
  • Please tell your doctor about any medication you are taking. Many drugs that are also available without a prescription, such as pain relievers, rheumatism or vitamin preparations, can interfere with the effectiveness of cardiovascular and anticoagulant drugs and must not be taken at the same time. Your doctor can switch to other medications.
  • Remember to get a new prescription in good time .
  • Go regularly to check your laboratory values. In this way, side effects such as shifts in the mineral balance (potassium, sodium, etc.) due to dehydrating agents (diuretics) can be recognized and treated at an early stage.
  • If new symptoms appear or your symptoms worsen, please consult your doctor.

What to do if there are side effects?

In any case, talk to your doctor about any symptoms that may have to do with taking the medication: this is the only way to find the right medication for you. Your doctor has a number of options to reduce the symptoms you may have caused by side effects.

  • Your doctor may prescribe a different medication in certain cases.
  • Your doctor can combine different medications. This allows the dose of the individual preparations to be reduced, which also reduces the side effects.
  • If you suffer from side effects, this is not a reason to stop taking the medication immediately. Discuss with your doctor whether you can use the medication e.g. For example, you can take it at a different time of the day when the side effects are less of a concern.
  • Caution is advised if symptoms worsen or new symptoms arise. Please consult your doctor!