Commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure-American Heart Association

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The American Heart Association (AHA) has cautioned that commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure in its first scientific statement, which provides guidance on avoiding drug-drug or drug-condition interactions for people with heart failure. The statement provides comprehensive information about specific drugs and “natural” remedies that may have serious unintended consequences for heart failure patients.

In addition to prescription medications, over the counter drugs may also have unintended consequences for heart failure patients.

For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including commonly used painkillers such as ibuprofen, can trigger or worsen heart failure by causing sodium and fluid retention and making diuretic medications less effective.

Over-the counter heartburn medications and cold remedies may also contain significant amounts of sodium, which is usually restricted in patients with heart failure.

Heart failure patients have, on average 5 or more separate medical conditions and they take 7 or more prescription medications daily, often prescribed by different healthcare providers. And, according to the statement, medications can cause problems in several ways: being toxic to heart muscle cells or changing how the heart muscle contracts; interacting with medications used to treat heart failure so that some of their benefits are lost; and containing more sodium than advised for patients with heart failure.

Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., chair of the writing committee for the new scientific statement said that healthcare providers should talk to patients with heart failure at every visit about all prescription and over the counter medications they may be taking, as well as nutritional supplements and herbs. (Source: AHA)

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