Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center


In addition to recommending some healthy lifestyle changes, your doctor will probably also recommend one or more medications for treating your heart failure. Some of the most commonly prescribed types of medication include:

» Anticoagulants
» Antiplatelet agents
» Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
» Angiotensin II receptor blockers
» Beta blockers
» Calcium channel blockers
» Diuretics
» Vasodilators
» Digitalis preparations
» Cholesterol-lowering drugs


Anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, decrease your blood's ability to clot (coagulate) and prevent clots from forming in the blood vessels.

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Antiplatelet Agents

Antiplatelet agents prevent clots from forming by preventing your blood's platelets from sticking together.

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Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors lower levels of angiotensin II, a protein that causes blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to increase.

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Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Instead of lowering levels of angiotensin II (as ACE inhibitors do) angiotensin II receptor blockers prevent the protein from affecting the heart and blood vessels, which prevents blood pressure from rising.

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Beta Blockers

Beta blockers decrease your heart rate and reduce blood pressure by dilating (expanding) the blood vessels.

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Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering the cells of the heart and blood vessels.

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Diuretics cause the body to rid itself of excess water and relieve fluid buildup in the lungs and lower limbs.

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Vasodilators relax the blood vessels and increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart while also reducing its workload.

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Digitalis Preparations

Digitalis preparations increase the force of each heartbeat, which can help the heart achieve a normal rhythm.

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Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

This is a class of medications that are used to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, raise HDL ("good") cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.

Heart rate limiting calcium channel blockers are contraindicated in Stage C and Stage D systolic heart failure.

Learn more about treatments for heart failure:

For more information about heart failure treatment at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-DEBAKEY (713-332-2539) or complete our online contact us form.