Medication for Coronary Artery Disease

Doctors at NYU Langone prescribe medication to treat people with coronary artery disease. These medications are designed to relieve angina, or chest pain; prevent a heart attack; and improve symptoms and quality of life.

Cholesterol-Lowering Medication

Cholesterol-lowering medications called statins reduce cholesterol by blocking the liver enzyme responsible for producing it. Statins can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Common side effects of these medications may include muscle aches or diarrhea.

Aspirin

Aspirin can help prevent blood clots and heart attacks in people with coronary artery disease. Because it may cause bleeding in some people, your doctor helps you weigh the risks and benefits before including it in your treatment plan. Other common side effects may include stomach pain, heartburn, or nausea.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers can slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, reducing the heart’s workload. These medications block the effects of the hormone adrenaline, which is released during times of stress. This causes the heart to beat more slowly, reducing blood pressure. 

Side effects are usually mild and can include fatigue, cold hands, and upset stomach. Sudden withdrawal from beta blockers can worsen angina or cause a heart attack, so talk to your doctor before stopping the medication.

Nitroglycerin

This medication treats angina, or chest pain, in people with coronary artery disease. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it dilates—or widens—blood vessels so blood flows more easily to the heart. Side effects may include headache, heart palpitations, and fluid retention.

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