Drugs That May Lead to Heart Damage

Image for drugs and heart problems article If you are taking medication for a condition, or using illicit drugs or other substances, it is important to know about potential side effects and adverse reactions. One of your best sources of information is a doctor who has a thorough knowledge of your health history. Below are examples of medications and illicit drugs that may cause heart problems. If you have concerns about the specific medications that you are taking, talk to your doctor.

Prescription Medications


Examples of medications in this class include:
  • Doxorubicin
  • Daunorubicin
  • Epirubicin
  • Idarubicin
Anthracyclines are prescribed to treat cancer. If used for a long time or in high doses, anthracyclines may cause damage to the heart muscle, including cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes abnormal growth of muscle fibers. This can lead progressive weakening of the heart muscle, leading to heart failure. If you are taking anthracyclines, your doctor will carefully control the dose and monitor your heart function.

Antipsychotic Drugs

Antipsychotic drugs are typically used to treat certain mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. Examples of medications in this class include:
  • Clozapine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Risperidone
Some antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems like abnormal heart rhythms, cardiac arrest, or stroke.Before you use these medications, be sure to talk to your doctor about their risks and benefits.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce fever and pain. They can also be used to decrease pain and swelling associated with inflammation. NSAIDs are available by prescription from your doctor and some are available over-the-counter. A type of NSAID, called COX-2 inhibitors, carry the same risks as other NSAIDs.Possible heart-related side effects from NSAID use include:You may be at a greater risk for adverse effects from NSAIDs if you:
  • Have been taking the medication for a long period of time
  • Already have risk factors for cardiovascular disease
If you have any concerns about taking medications for pain or fever, talk to your doctor.

Drugs for Type 2 Diabetes

There are many different types of drugs that are used to treat type 2 diabetes. In general, thiazolidinediones are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and heart failure. One drug in particular is rosiglitazone. Rosiglitazone may be taken alone or in combination with other medications.

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