Medications That May Cause Heart Failure


24 Feb 2021 | 0 | by kjh

18920login-checkMedications That May Cause Heart Failure

According to Dr. Ramdas Pai, clinical professor at the University of California-Riverside School of Medicine, there are medications that may cause heart failure and medications that increase the risk of developing heart failure.

Pain medications:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

(Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naproxen) and COX-2 inhibitors (celecoxib, Celebrex) can cause the body to retain sodium. Excess sodium in the body makes the body retain more fluid, forcing your heart to work harder. This can be a major problem for people who already have heart failure.

Diabetes medications

Avandia (rosiglitazone) belongs to a group of medications for diabetes called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs, and was the first drug of its kind to make headlines for increasing the risk of heart failure. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration restricted Avandia to people with diabetes that wasn’t well-controlled by other medications.


Although not technically a drug, some doctors call sodium a “silent killer for the heart and the kidney.” That’s because not only do certain medications increase sodium and water retention, but many medications also contain sodium as an inactive ingredient.


Many medications used in chemotherapy can have unpleasant side effects, such as severe nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and kidney damage. However, some drugs used to fight cancer can strain the heart also. Older cancer drugs like cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and doxorubicin, which are used in cancers such as leukemia, are known to weaken the heart muscle. Doxorubicin has a “black box” warning because it can cause congestive heart failure months or years after stopping treatment.

Some doctors say that trastuzumab (Herceptin), a newer cancer medication commonly used in breast cancer and some stomach cancers, causes inflammation in the heart muscle and reduces its ability to pump blood effectively.

Certain drugs for an irregular heartbeat

Sotalol (Betapace, Betapace AF) falls into two drug categories: It’s technically a beta-blocker, meaning it acts on receptors on the heart and encourages the heart rate to slow down. But sotalol also helps reduce overactivity in the heart cells that lead to an irregular heartbeat. This feature can make things very difficult for a heart that’s already failing to pump blood and oxygen adequately throughout the body. Flecainide is another medication that helps control irregular heartbeat in a similar way, and experts say it’s not a good option for heart failure, either.

Calcium channel blockers

There are many different medications in this class, but two are forbidden for people who have heart failure or are already at risk. Verapamil (Calan, Calan SR, Covera-SR, Verelan) and diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Dilt-CD, Diltzac, Taztia XT, Tiazac) reduce the contractility of the heart. This can make the heart function weaker if you already have heart problems according to some doctors.

Salt substitutes

Experts recommend avoiding them when you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake. Many doctors ask their patients not to use salt substitutes because many of them are very high in potassium. One can get hyperkalemia, which is too much potassium in your bloodstream, and it can cause your heart to stop. This is also true for over-the-counter supplements. 


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