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Thrombolytic drugs are an important type of heart attack medication; they are used to dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart. Other types of medication for a heart attack include beta blockers, anticoagulants, and antiplatelets.

An Overview of Heart Attack Medication

When a person has a heart attack, there are a number of treatment options available. Depending on the situation, these options can include:
The goals of treatment for heart attacks include:
  • Quickly restoring blood flow to the heart
  • Continuously monitoring vital signs to detect and treat heart attack complications
  • Making lifelong changes to reduce the chances of another heart attack.

Heart Attack Medication for Restoring Blood Flow

Restoring blood flow to the heart is vital to prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle and to prevent another heart attack. Thrombolytic drugs are heart attack medications used to restore blood flow to the heart.
Thrombolytic ("clot-busting") drugs are used to dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart. When given soon after a heart attack begins, these drugs can limit or prevent permanent damage to the heart. To be most effective, this type of heart attack medication needs to be administered within one hour after the start of heart attack symptoms.

Other Heart Attack Medication

In addition to treatments to restore blood flow, other heart attack medications may be used as part of your treatment to reduce complications or the chances of another heart attack. Other types of heart attack medication include:
  • Beta blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) 
  • Nitrates
  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelets
  • Medicines to treat irregular heart rhythms (known as an arrhythmia).
Beta Blockers
Beta blockers are used to decrease the workload on your heart by slowing your heart rate. This makes your heart beat with less force and lowers your blood pressure. Some beta blockers are also used to relieve angina (chest pain) and in heart attack patients to help prevent additional heart attacks. Beta blockers are also used to correct irregular heartbeats.
Examples of beta blockers used as heart attack medication include:
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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