Drug treatment of coronary heart disease

Drug treatment of coronary heart disease is aimed at halting the progression of the disease and reducing the intensity of the symptoms.

Available medications

Blood-thinning medication: The so-called anticoagulants, also known as platelet aggregation inhibitors (e.g. acetylsalicylic acid, clopidogrel, ticagrelor, prasugrel), act on the blood platelets (thrombocytes) and thus inhibit blood clotting. This reduces the risk of blood clots (thrombi) forming in the coronary arteries, which can block the coronary arteries and lead to a heart attack. However, anticoagulants are also particularly important after an operation if a stent has been inserted into the coronary arteries. They then protect the coronary artery from acute occlusion, which could have serious consequences.

Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers inhibit the effect of stress hormones. They ensure that blood pressure is lowered and the heart beats more slowly. The result: the oxygen consumption of the heart muscle decreases. Angina pectoris symptoms are thus alleviated. In heart attack patients, beta-blockers can reduce the risk of developing secondary diseases or dying from vascular disease.

Nitrates and calcium antagonists: Nitrates and calcium antagonists have a vasodilating effect. On the one hand, the heart is better supplied with blood and oxygen, and on the other hand they slow down the flow of blood from the body to the heart. The heart therefore has to pump less and its oxygen consumption decreases. Nitrates can quickly relieve the symptoms of acute angina attacks.

Cholesterol reducer: A high cholesterol level promotes the development and progression of arteriosclerosis. We usually prescribe statins to control elevated blood lipid levels. A recently published study has shown that the frequently described side effects of statins, such as muscle pain, are rare. Even if your blood lipid levels are normal, these drugs have a positive effect on the progression of your coronary heart disease and should therefore be taken if you already have established coronary heart disease.

Other medications are also available (e.g. ranolazine, nicorandil or ivabradine), which can be used in special situations. They are mainly used if there are certain reasons why first-line medicines should not be taken or if they do not have the desired effect.

For patients

You can either register yourself or be referred by your primary care physician, specialist.

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15

For referrer

University Hospital Zurich
University Heart Center Zurich
Rämistrasse 100
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 15 15
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Responsible Department