Millions of Americans take some kind of heart medication. For some people, this means downing a single daily pill to help lower blood pressure. For others, it may mean taking a wide variety of different drugs to strengthen heart function, decrease cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, or stabilize heart rhythms.
These little pills and potions are life-giving—and powerful. Even a small drop in your blood pressure reading can cut your risk of having a heart attack.
At the same time, taking these medications the wrong way or discontinuing them without first consulting your health care provider could be dangerous, even fatal.
Learn more about taking heart medications ›
Prescription drugs can enhance your life, but when not used correctly, they may have the opposite effect.
“Medications are serious business and should never be taken lightly,” says Douglas Hoey, R.Ph., M.B.A., chief operating officer for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) in Alexandria, Va. “On television you’ll see commercials for prescription drugs all mixed in with commercials for biscuits and auto insurance. This has created a perception that prescription drugs are always safe, but that’s not the case.”
Ask these questions each time you’re prescribed a medication.
Nearly three in four Americans don't take their medications correctly, according to a recent NCPA survey of 1,000 people. Some never bother to fill their prescriptions in the first place. Others stop taking a drug without first getting their doctors’ OK. Others don’t follow label instructions.
Learn more about cholesterol medication ›