Alex & his pills

Our guest speaker for June 2011 was Alex Simpson, pharmacist from Nevill Hall. Alex wanted to chat about the most common cardiac drugs that would be familiar to most of us. He didn’t want to discuss side effects in depth because individuals can access the appropriate information leaflets themselves and discuss any concerns with their GP or a member of the cardiology team. Here goes….

Aspirin ..is used to prevent clotting which helps to prevent heart attack. It’s wise to take with or after food otherwise it may irritate your stomach. It is usually given in dispersible form.

Clopidogrel .. is similar to above but is usually only administered for a set period of time before being stopped. If you have been taking it over a long period of time then check with your doctors.

Furosemide ..helps relieve symptoms in patients with cardiac failure by removing excess fluid. Can contribute to low blood pressure which may cause dizziness.

Nitrates ..prevents or relieves pain associated with angina. It widens the blood vessels which increases the blood flow to the heart. Because of improved drug regimes many people do not need to use the GTN spray so frequently so it is ALWAYS wise to check the expiry date on it just in case it needs to be renewed.

Betablockers ..are used post M.I., heart failure or arrythmias. They reduce the rate and force of the heart muscle. They can exacerbate asthma.

Calcium channel blockers .. are used for angina, high BP and tachycardia. Can cause flushing and headaches.

ACE inhibitors .. are used in the treatment and prevention of heart failure. They lower BP and widen blood vessels. Some people suffer a dry cough or disturbed taste sensations ie/ metallic taste. The higher the dose that can be tolerated the better.

Statins .. lower blood cholesterol and are normally taken at night. They can cause muscle cramping and headaches. Speak to your doctor if you do suffer side effects because there are alternatives on the market.

Finally Alex explained that we will sometimes find the drugs and box presentations may differ to what we are used to but thus is because different manufacturers are used. If in doubt read the label or discuss with pharmacist or doctor.

We finished our chat with a sing song to wish Alex a happy birthday.

Many thanks for a great interactive session.

 Mike & Alex

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