Angina Drugs


Nitrates are anti angina drugs that work by relaxing blood vessels and allowing more blood to flow to the heart

One example of a nitrate medication is...

Isosorbide dinitrate

Brand Name: Isordil
used to help prevent chest pain - angina

Not intended for use to treat angina when it occurs...but rather as a daily preventative treatment as prescribed.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Headache, lightheadedness, flushing and dizziness
  • fast heartbeat with headaches
  • sweating, blurred vision and dry mouth

Nitroglycerin Lingual Spray

Also referred to as...

GTN and Nitroglycerin spray.

This is one of the most common and well known angina drugs.

It is used to relieve episodes of chest pain - angina. Designed to be used as necessary or preventatively prior to activity

Possible side effects may include :

  • Headache, lightheadedness
  • flushing
  • dizziness

Beta Blockers

Two examples of beta blockers are...

Brand name: Tenormin

Brand name: Betaloc

Beta Blockers are anti angina drugs that block beta receptors in the heart tissue as well as other organs in the body.

Stimulation of these receptors by two naturally occurring chemicals called noradrenaline and adrenaline (epinephrine) causes the heart to beat.

These chemicals are blocked by the action of this drug...the severity of effect being dose dependant of course.

With respect to the heart, beta blockers will slow down the pumping force and decrease the heart rate.

This will have the effect of lowering blood pressure and reducing angina as less energy is being expended by the heart.

Beta blockers are usually prescribed after a heart attack or Myocardial infarction as statistically...long term survival is improved.

Possible side effects may include:

  • dizziness, lightheadedness and tiredness
  • nausea and drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • vision disturbances

Calcium Channel Blocker's

Four examples of calcium channel blockers are...

  • Diltiazem - sometimes known as Cardizem
  • Verapamil -also known as Calan and Isoptin
  • Nicardipine - sometimes known as Cardene
  • Nifedipine - sometimes known as Procardia

This class of anti angina drug works by slowing down the rate that calcium moves through muscle cells of the heart and walls of blood vessels.

Calcium is required by muscle cells so that they can contract. Muscle cells relax when deprived of calcium.

Action of calcium channel blockers:

  • Reduces heart rate
  • Allows blood vessels to widen

Used to treat angina

Works because...

  • heart uses less energy to pump blood around your body
  • heart needs less oxygen because it is doing less work
  • relaxed blood vessels increases blood flow and oxygen to your heart

Used to lower high blood pressure

Works because...

  • If the heart rate is slowed, the pressure or force pumping the blood is reduced.
  • If the blood vessels relax then the vascular resistance that the left ventricle must push against to move the blood along the vessel decreases

Possible side effects may include:

  • Dizziness drowsiness and fatigue
  • nausea and headache
  • severe abdominal pain
  • severe constipation
  • dark urine

In all cases seek medical advice if you experience side effects.
DO NOT stop taking your medication until advised to do so by your health care professional.

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