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Medications, Over-the-Counter Drugs, and Supplements That Could Cause Serious Complications for Heart Failure Patients

man with heart failure medsPeople who suffer from heart failure or are at risk of heart failure have more to worry about than the disease itself. Unfortunately, these patients often suffer from other medical problems, and take multiple medications and over-the-counter drugs and supplements. These combinations might result in serious side effects or complications when mixed with their heart prescriptions.

Doctors must be vigilant in knowing of all the medications and over-the-counter drugs their heart patients are taking to ensure incompatible drugs aren't in the mix as well. When doctors and other health professionals fail to monitor this or make other medication errors, patients can suffer serious side effects—sometimes causing life-threatening health problems.

What Are the Most Dangerous Drugs to Take If You Suffer With Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.7 million people in the United States suffer heart failure. It's caused when the cardiac muscles are unable to pump blood efficiently to support the body’s needs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the legs.

People with this disease take an average of seven medications, plus over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Some patients with a number of chronic conditions can take even more different drugs. The danger of complications caused by mixing drugs and supplements is so great that the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statement warning patients and doctors of the need to monitor closely what the patient is taking to avoid dangerous consequences.

Some medications and supplements can cause or increase the risk of heart failure; prompt the heart to slow down or speed up; or result in internal bleeding. Drugs taken for conditions such as diabetes, pain, cancer, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and mental health issues could also pose a danger.

For individuals with or at risk for heart failure, drugs and supplements that should be avoided include:

  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs—both prescription and over-the-counter—such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which may cause salt and water retention
  • Drugs with a lot of sodium, including some antibiotics and osteoporosis drugs
  • Over-the-counter cold and allergy medications that end in a "-D," which means the product has an added decongestant and may raise blood pressure
  • Some chemotherapy drugs
  • Supplements and herbs such as green tea, ginkgo, ginger, garlic powder, and St. John’s Wort, which may interact with or lessen the effects of heart medication


The AHA recommends that doctors regularly conduct a comprehensive review of the patient’s medications, including the dosage and frequency they are taken. Failure to do so can be medical malpractice.

Do you suffer from heart failure? Did your doctor fail to monitor your prescriptions or otherwise commit medical malpractice? Fill out my online form to schedule a free case evaluation to learn about the compensation you could be entitled to receive.