Heart Medicines After Bypass Surgery

Man putting a pill in his mouth with one hand and holding a glass of water with the other hand.

From now on, you’ll be taking medicine to keep your heart disease (coronary artery disease) under control. You may also take medicines for related health problems. Be sure to take all your medicines as directed or they won’t work properly.

Heart medicines

Your doctor may prescribe some of these medicines after your bypass surgery:

  • Antiplatelet medicines such as aspirin help prevent blood clots. They also reduce your risk for a heart attack.

  • Beta-blockers reduce your heart rate and the force of the heartbeat. They also lower blood pressure.

  • ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and decrease strain on the heart.

  • Lipid-lowering medicines reduce the amount of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and other fats in the blood. Some medicines also improve levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Other medicines

Depending on your risk factors, you may also take medicines for related conditions:

  • If you have high blood pressure, you may take medicines such as diuretics and vasodilators. These lower blood pressure, which helps control heart disease.

  • If you have diabetes, pills or insulin injections can keep blood sugar under control. This reduces the risk for diabetes complications, including heart disease.

Tips for taking medicines

  • Set up a routine. For example, take your medicine with the same meal each day, or before you go to bed.

  • Use a pill box or dispenser. Choose one that has the day of the week and morning and evening marked. This device may help you keep your medicines organized and remind you when to take them.

  • Keep a list of all your medicines and their dosages with you at all times. Show this list to any doctor or dentist who treats you. Also show it to your pharmacist before buying any prescription or over-the-counter medicine.