Heart failure: How your pharmacist can help
If you suffer from heart failure, your pharmacist will provide medication support and guidance throughout your treatment to help you understand the role of medication, advise you on over-the-counter medication and natural health products, and address any questions and concerns you have.
The goal of treatment for heart failure is to relieve symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, and swelling in the legs, in order to improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of hospitalization. Several medications are required to attain these objectives, and each one plays a precise and vital role. It is important to understand these roles and to follow the prescribed dosage. If you’re unclear about something or if you have trouble taking your medication, talk to your pharmacist who will be able to propose a solution.
In the early days of treatment for heart failure, the doses of some of these medications must be increased a little bit at a time. This is an important step because the body needs time to adapt to their effect. You should follow the recommended dose increases prescribed by your doctor, and consult your pharmacist immediately if you experience any adverse side effects.
Once the initial treatment adjustment period has passed, you may find yourself with several medications with different renewal dates. To help you avoid repeated trips to the pharmacy, your pharmacist can synchronize your medications. Bring your medication containers with you, and the pharmacist will adjust the individual quantities so you can renew them all at the same time. You can take advantage of this service any time you are prescribed a new medication.
Some over-the-counter medications and natural health products can adversely affect the efficacy of heart failure medications or aggravate the disease’s symptoms. For example, painkillers that belong to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) class, such as ibuprofen which is sold under the brands Advil, Motrin, and others, as well as medications that contain sodium, including certain products for heartburn or effervescent tablets, can increase fluid retention and overload the kidneys. To be sure you don’t take a product that is unsuitable for you, always consult your pharmacist before taking a new medication or natural health product.
Got questions or concerns about your treatment? Talk to your pharmacist!
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.