In recent years, better medications have made it easier to take care of coronary artery disease. Three in particular, asprin, beta-blockers, and statins, have helped many people stay healthy and avoid heart attacks:
Aspirin -- the most common medication recommended and prescribed by doctors for patients with coronary artery disease. Aspirin prevents heart attacks in people with coronary artery disease. Aspirin, often a baby aspirin dose once daily, reduces platelets sticking together and helps to maintain blood flow to the heart.
Beta-blockers -- among the most commonly used drugs for controlling high blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart. They slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease the amount of work the heart must do. When the heart works more efficiently, it needs less oxygen from your blood. By lowering the heart's oxygen needs, beta-blockers may help prevent or relieve poor blood flow, which is an important factor in heart attacks.
Statins -- the most frequently prescribed type of cholesterol-lowering drugs. They block a key liver enzyme involved in making cholesterol. This helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that can be deposited into the blood. This allows more LDL, or "bad," cholesterol to be removed from the blood. Dietary changes are also important to help lower cholesterol, however, statins have other beneficial effects in addition to lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that people who use statins, even of their cholesterol level is fine, have a reduced risk for heart attack, stroke, chest pain, and death from a heart-related condition.
Your doctor will work with you to determine what, if any, medications are right for you.