Most SCAD patients are given medications used to treat plaque-related heart attacks, including antiplatelet medication such as aspirin and clopidogrel, blood pressure medication such as ACE inhibitors and betablockers, and statins, even though SCAD is not caused by atherosclerosis.

More research and clinical trials are needed to identify the best treatments, however it is important for patients to have well-controlled blood pressure. Dr David Adlam, who is leading the UK SCAD research, discusses the current thinking about medication in this video, starting at about 33 minutes. Having a review of your medications is important to ensure you are taking the correct meds for your individual circumstances.

You and your doctor can find more information about best practice in SCAD medications here.

If you think you might be experiencing side effects (excessive bruising, tiredness, sleepiness etc) from the medication you’ve been prescribed, talk to your doctor and if they are unsure what to do, ask them to discuss with one of the SCAD specialists.

If you are considering taking over-the-counter medications, you should get advice from a doctor or pharmacist based on your own health and current prescriptions for other medicines.

There are some over-the-counter medicines that are not advised for certain patients:

  • Asthmatics are advised not to use Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), eg ibuprofen
  • Prolonged use or over-use of NSAIDs has been associated with a slightly increased risk of stroke and heart attack. The NHS has information here. And NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) says to use the lowest dose for shortest time possible and be wary of possible contraindications (particularly when the patient is going to be on a prescription-strength NSAID for a while).
  • Decongestants, eg Pseudoephedrine which is found in most cold remedies with a decongestant component, can increase blood pressure so are generally not advised for those using blood pressure lowering medicine.

Always check with your GP, cardiologist or the SCAD specialist looking after you before you stop or change your medication. There are good reasons for some SCAD patients to take some of the medication, so seek advice and show your doctor the current information from the European Position Paper or current research. Request a summary of the European Position Paper via the Downloads form.

Click on the sections below to find out more about Checking for Healing, Chest Pain after SCAD, Cardiac Rehab and Exercise after SCAD.

More about Medication

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