Cardiovascular Drugs: List, Uses, Side Effects
A Cardiovascular drug refers to medications that affect the function of the heart and blood vessels. Drugs that act on the cardiovascular system are among the most widely used in medicine. Examples of disorders in which such drugs may be useful include hypertension (high blood pressure), angina pectoris (chest pain resulting from inadequate blood flow through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle), heart failure (inadequate output of the heart muscle in relation to the needs of the rest of the body), and arrhythmias (disturbances of cardiac rhythm).
The number of people dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) is steadily rising, including one-third of all deaths globally in 2019, according to a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that reviewed the total magnitude of CVD burden and trends over 30 years around the world.
There are many different classes of drugs that fall under the general term cardiovascular agent. Some work directly on the blood vessels surrounding the heart, reducing how much force the heart has to pump against. Others lower cholesterol levels and help reduce the formation of atherosclerotic plaques which cause blood vessel narrowing. Some work in the kidneys to increase fluid and salt loss or improve blood flow through the kidneys. The type of cardiovascular disease the person has determines which class of cardiovascular agent to use.
What are the common side effects of coronary heart disease medications?
Each type of medication has different side effects. Side effects of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors include cough, elevated blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia), low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, weakness, abnormal taste, and rash. Taking vasodilators may cause lightheadedness or dizziness, increased or irregular heart rate, or headache. Side effects of calcium channel blockers include constipation, nausea, headache, rash, edema, low blood pressure, drowsiness, and dizziness. Anti-arrhythmics may cause dizziness, blurred vision, anorexia, unusual taste, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Always consult your doctor if you are having unexplained symptoms or questions related to your medications.
Safety of Cardiovascular Drug
Cardiac safety, particularly drug-induced heart rhythm abnormalities, remains an important cause of pipeline attrition and has resulted in countless major product recalls or label changes. The risk of encountering this major adverse event continues to shape the drug development and regulatory landscape.
Extensive research over the past decade has shed light on the root causes of arrhythmias that are triggered by medications and have helped drive, and optimize drug safety testing. However, current cardiac safety platforms have several limitations and there remains a pressing unmet need to improve the predictive power of today’s drug safety tests.
In addition, According to studies, cardiovascular toxicity is one of the major reasons for those late withdrawals, meaning that many patients are exposed to unexpected serious cardiovascular risks.
When on multiple medications and complex regimens, cardiac patients are at increased risk and particularly vulnerable to drug interactions. The common combination of ACEIs and beta-blockers for example usually has an additive hypotensive effect. While such interactions should be considered and monitored, using these medicines concomitantly is often fundamental to treatment.
Foods such as grapefruit juice, herbal medicines such as St John’s Wart, and non-prescription and illicit medicines should be checked for interactions. Consult with a pharmacist to assist with interpretation of potential and risk of medication interactions.
A rational and informed approach to drug interactions, based on scientific knowledge, can reduce the chance of adverse effects and improve patient outcomes.