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Opioids Can Be Hard on the Heart

Opioids are powerful painkillers that allow us to tolerate the type of deep pain caused by trauma, major surgical procedures and some forms of cancer. But using products containing oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) in higher-than–prescribed doses or for extended periods of time can lead to addiction. When this happens, the drugs’ benefits are far overshadowed by […]

High-Dose Omega-3 Supplements Found to Increase A-fib Risk

In the March issue, we introduced the landmark clinical trial of Epanova, a new prescription drug containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in four times the dose found in over-the-counter omega-3 supplements. In this trial, called STRENGTH, the stronger supplements were no better than placebo at protecting against cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack […]

In the Language of Medicine, Biomarkers Speak Volumes

Many simple tests are performed during a routine physical examination. Blood pressure and heart rate are taken, and blood is drawn to measure cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar or hemoglobin A1c, among other things. These are traditional biomarkers that help physicians determine whether someone has a disease or is more likely to develop it, how […]

New Prescriptions for Weight Loss

Would you be surprised to learn that only 28% of American adults are at their ideal weight? A hefty 32% are overweight, and an additional 40% are obese. These numbers worry preventive cardiologists like Dennis Bruemmer, MD, PhD, who see the adverse effects of excess weight every day. “People who are overweight and obese face […]

Heart Beat: Erectile Dysfunction; Heart-Attack Risks; Weight Gain; Blood Clot Removal

Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Lower Risk of Second Heart Attack The systemic nature of atherosclerosis can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, in addition to cardiovascular disease. Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors are often prescribed to improve erections by dilating blood vessels in the penis. In the process, they improve circulation body-wide, lowering blood pressure and protecting the […]

Common Meds May Not Be Safe for All Heart Patients

What’s in your medicine cabinet? You probably have a bottle of pain relievers for that occasional headache or stiff knee. Maybe there’s a bottle of cold medicine you bought when your nose was stuffed up. There’s a good chance you have a box of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to prevent heartburn, since these are the best-selling […]

Two Clot-Prevention Medications Are Easily Confused

Do you know the difference between anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents? It’s easy to get them confused. “Both increase the risk of bleeding, but in different ways,” says Cleveland Clinic vascular medicine specialist Deborah Hornacek, MD. If you take one of these drugs, you should know which class it is and why it was prescribed for […]

Marijuana Not Showing Benefit for Treating Heart Disease

Marijuana, a drug derived from the cannabis plant, has come out of hiding. Recreational marijuana is legal in a growing number of states. Medical marijuana, which lacks the compound that creates euphoria, is sold over-the-counter in many more. You can find formulations to be swallowed, eaten, absorbed under the tongue or rectally, vaporized or smoked. […]

Landmark Study Finds No Benefit in High-Dose Fish Oil

A diet high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—two omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, herring and other fatty fishes—is associated with a lower risk of fatal and nonfatal heart attack. But a recent study found that prescription supplements containing high doses of EPA and DHA had absolutely no effect on any cardiovascular […]

Heart Beat: January 2021

New Drug Shows Significant Benefit in Heart Failure Most patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) take multiple medications to help their heart pump more forcefully and slow the inevitable decline in their condition. In clinical trials, a novel drug called vericiguat has been shown to provide additional benefit to HFrEF patients already […]

Bounce Back After Your Heart Attack

Pandemics, politics, paychecks…what a year this has been! No wonder so many of us are looking forward to the December holidays, when we can find comfort in meaningful religious and family traditions and be uplifted by flickering candles and twinkling lights. But the end of the year also holds a dark secret: Every year the […]

Old Drug May Have New Role in Prevention

Colchicine is a generic drug used to treat gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis affecting the joints, as well as pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart. The results of two recent clinical trials suggest colchicine also might protect against a second heart attack, stroke, revascularization or death. If these findings are confirmed, […]