Managing your medicines

Medicines and devices have an important role in the treatment of your heart failure as they can help stabilise your condition.

Most people with heart failure need several medicines for the best results, which can get a little confusing, especially if you have other diseases that require medications. Using a medicine chart can help you keep track of what you need to take and when. This will also help you decide when you need a repeat prescription.

It’s common for your doctor to increase the dose of your medicines, even if you feel better after starting them, as most heart failure medicines work best at certain doses and need to be increased gradually. Your doctor is prescribing medicine to make you feel better in the short term, but also to help treat the underlying disease and improve your overall health in the long term. It’s therefore essential to take all of your medicines at the prescribed dose even if you are feeling better.

Sometimes you may experience side effects from your medicines that could be mild and not bother you too much, or could be stronger and affect you a lot. It’s very important to inform your doctor or nurse immediately if you suspect you have any side effects due to your medicines. The dose may need to be lowered or the treatment may have to be changed or stopped. Your doctor or nurse can often help manage any unpleasant symptoms and make you feel better by suggesting simple techniques when taking your medicines (for example. staggering the times you take some of your medicines or taking a particular medicine with a meal or at bedtime).

Similarly, devices may periodically require adjustment or fine-tuning. You should contact your doctor if you experience symptoms that you suspect could be related to your device. These problems can usually be solved by electronically modifying the device programme.

Click here for more information on managing your medicines, including helpful tips on remembering to take them.

Click here for more information on the types of medicines used in heart failure,.

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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