Cardiac drugs

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This dog is suffering from a persistent dry cough due his antihypertensive medication - rampril. It's probably time he was switched to an ARB instead.

The heart is very useful, and cardiologists attempt to keep it that way. The drugs they use are below:

ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors inhibit the action of the ACE enzyme, reducing blood pressure. Common ones are ramipril and perindopril. They are used tp treat hypertension[1]. See the ACE inhibitor page for more.

Angiotension II receptor agonists

Also known as ARBs, they work in a very similar way to ACE inhibitors, but are don't cause a dry cough. In time, they may replace ACE inhibitors as the first line treatment. More on them here.


There are a variety of antiarrhythmic drugs (possibly the hardest word to spell in the whole world).

The most well known are amlodipine, atropine and adenosine, however there are many more types. Visit the page on antiarrythmics to find out more about them.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers make the heart pump slower and less hard. Common ones are propanolol, bisoprolol and atenolol. They are mainly used to prevention of MIs and deal with tachyarrhythmias. See the beta blockers page for more.

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers have a wider range of effects. Some, like verapamil, make the heart pump slower and less hard. Others, like nifidipine mostly just dilate blood vessels in the heart and body, meaning they are used to treat angina. Find out more on the calcium channel blockers page.


Diuretics are used to control hypertension, by reducing the amount of fluid in the body. They are so sexy that they have their own page. Check it out!


These are used to treat angina. There are two main types, glyceryl trinitrate - well known in the GTN spray - and isosorbide dinitrate, used sublingually and for prophylaxis. More on the nitrates page.


  1. "Effects of ACE Inhibitors, Calcium Antagonists, and Other Blood Pressure lowering Drugs " by RB Thakkar and S Oparil - Current Hypertension Reports. Volume 3, Number 3, 227-228, DOI: 10.1007/s11906-001-0043-5