According to Healthline - There are several drugs that, although not used to treat heart problems, have an effect on the organ, and can, over time, cause changes that lead to the onset of heart disease, as is the case with some antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, birth control pills, antipsychotics, antineoplastic drugs, and levodopa, for example.
It is important to keep in mind that the effect on the heart happens only when the medication is used for a long time and without the proper guidance and follow-up from the doctor.
Therefore, it is recommended to take these drugs only under the advice of a doctor, especially when it will be necessary to use them for a long period of time, as the doctor will be able to monitor the effects of the drug and indicate a change in the dose, a change or suspension of the drug.
1. Tricyclic antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants are used especially in the most severe cases of depression, because they cause strong side effects that can affect the heart, causing an increase in heart rate, a drop in blood pressure when getting up, changes in the electrical functioning of the heart, and can also make it more difficult for the ventricles to work.
However, when used properly and in controlled doses, these drugs have a low risk of heart problems, and can be used after a thorough medical evaluation.
Examples of tricyclic antidepressants: amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, nortriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, doxepin, amoxapine, or maprotiline.
2. Anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work by inhibiting inflammatory substances such as prostaglandins and cyclooxygenase, acting not only at the site of the body affected by inflammation, but also on the blood vessel wall, causing an increase in blood pressure, which can lead to a dilation of the heart muscles and the development of heart failure.
These drugs can also interfere with blood clotting, and increase the risk of heart attacks and even strokes. In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease the effect of high blood pressure medications, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and should therefore always be used with medical advice.
This effect can also be seen with some steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, but these drugs also have other effects such as vision problems or weakening of the bones, and should only be used with a doctor's advice.
Examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib, nimesulide, phenylbutazone, or indomethacin.
Examples of steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (corticoids): hydrocortisone, prednisone, or dexamethasone.
3. Birth control pills
Oral contraceptives, especially those containing estrogens in their composition such as ethinyl estradiol, for example, can increase the risk of accumulating fat in the arteries and forming blood clots, leading to the development of cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
These effects can occur even with low-dose hormone pills and in any woman. However, the risk is greater in women who already have a heart problem or who are overweight, obese, diabetic, or who smoke.
In addition, contraceptives also increase the risk of venous thrombosis, especially in smoking women over 35. Thus, contraceptive use should always be evaluated with your gynecologist to identify possible risk factors.
Examples of contraceptives: Diane 35, Selene, Ciclo 21, Level, Microvlar, Soluna, Norestin, Minulet, Harmonet, Mercilon or Marvelon.
Antipsychotics are widely used for the treatment of psychiatric problems, such as schizophrenia, psychosis, or delirium, or even to control nausea, vomiting, or hiccups that do not improve with other treatments.
These antipsychotics can cause side effects that can affect the heart, such as a marked decrease in blood pressure, heart failure, arrhythmias, or myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart.
In addition, antipsychotics can also be linked to an increased risk of sudden death, and should therefore only be used on a doctor's advice and under frequent review.
Examples of phenothiazin antipsychotics: thioridazine, chlorpromazine, triflupromazine, levomepromazine, trifluoperazine, or flufenazine.
Antineoplastic drugs are used in chemotherapy, and while they help eliminate cancer cells, they also cause many side effects that affect the entire body. The most common effects on the heart include changes in heart muscle strength, arrhythmias, decreased blood pressure, and changes in the electrical functioning of the heart, which can result in heart failure, myocarditis, fibrosis, cardiomyopathy, and thrombosis.
Although they have all these effects, antineoplastics are usually necessary to save the patient's life, and are therefore used to fight cancer, even though they can cause other problems, which can then also be treated.
Examples of antineoplastic drugs are doxorubicin, daunorubicin, fluorouracil, vincristine, vimblastine, cyclophosphamide, or mitoxantrone.
Levodopa is one of the most widely used drugs in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, however, it can cause major cardiac changes such as arrhythmia or a marked decrease in blood pressure upon arising.
Therefore, people taking this drug should have regular consultations with their neurologist and cardiologist to evaluate their cardiovascular health and the effects of levodopa on the body.
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