What they do

There are several drugs that are used to improve the short-term course of acute heart failure. They may be used during an episode of acute heart failure. They can help by making the heart pump more forcefully or by dilating (opening up) blood vessels and reducing the workload.

Acute heart failure is characterised by a rapid onset of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, requiring urgent attention.

Treatment should be administered at hospital and detailed information concerning such treatment is beyond the scope of this website. However, it’s important that patients with chronic heart failure seek immediate attention when symptoms progress rapidly in order to initiate appropriate therapy as soon as possible.

These drugs are usually given in an intensive care unit by continuous injection and patients are closely monitored.

Types of medication

  • Dobutamine
    (Dobutrex®)
  • Dopamine
  • Dopexamine
    (Dopacard®)
  • Enoximone
    (Perfan®)
  • Glyceryl trinitrate / nitroglycerin
    (Nitrocine®, Nitronal®)
  • Levosimendan
    (Simdax®)
  • Nesiritide
    (Natrecor®)
  • Milrinone
    (Simdax®)
  • Sodium nitroprusside
    (Nipride®, Nitropress®)

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