Congestive Heart Failure: Common Medications Raise the Risk

Many drugs can cause congestive heart failure or make it worse. Some are prescription drugs, while others are over-the-counter medications.

Drugs that can directly harm the heart include anthracyclines used to treat breast cancer and TNF-a inhibitors used to treat rheumatologic diseases. Doctors are aware of these and do everything they can to modify the risk of developing heart failure. Nevertheless, it can happen. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs aren’t necessarily harmless, either. Diet pills, decongestants and bodybuilding drugs can contain amphetamines and epinephrine—stimulants known to cause heart failure. Sodium bicarbonate-based antacids can cause sodium and water retention, aggravating heart failure symptoms.

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    Download the Full October 2016 Issue PDF

    The number and frequency of sessions with a dietitian varies considerably, Patton says. “It’s often dependent on how often they come to our clinic to follow up with the cardiologist or nurse practitioner (NP),” she says. “When they come to see a doctor or NP,...

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