Information for the public
Taking drugs to reduce your risk
As well as cardiac rehabilitation and lifestyle advice, NICE has recommended that you should be offered treatment with the following types of drugs. However, there might be some situations where you won't be offered all the drugs mentioned. For example, if you had a heart attack more than a year ago, you may not need treatment with all the drugs.
ACE inhibitors (also called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) have a protective effect on the heart and make it easier for blood to be pumped around the body. They also reduce blood pressure and relieve workload on the heart.
Antiplatelets make your blood less likely to clot. If you are offered aspirin, you will normally need to take it for the rest of your life.
Beta-blockers slow your heart and protect it after a heart attack. Additionally they lower blood pressure and relieve the workload on the heart.
Statins lower the level of cholesterol in your blood, so fatty deposits are less likely to form in your blood vessels.
NICE has produced advice on statins and lowering cholesterol (see Other NICE guidance for details).
You may also be offered treatment with the following drugs:
A drug called an angiotensin receptor blocker (also known as ARB) if you cannot take ACE inhibitors.
A drug called an aldosterone antagonist if you have heart failure (that is, your heart is not pumping enough blood to meet your body's needs).
NICE has produced advice on treatment for people with chronic heart failure (see Other NICE guidance for details).
Monitoring will be needed when you start your drug treatment, and there should be a written plan in place that is given to you and to your GP. This should include details about your drug treatment, and monitoring your blood pressure and kidney function.
You should receive a copy of your discharge summary, which is a brief report written by your hospital doctor, when you leave hospital.
Questions to ask about drug treatment