Team Work

Heart-Health Meds Sometimes Better Used in Combination

| Jan 1, 2004

If you can’t find the name of your medication in our Type 2 Drug charts, there’s a good chance your medication is a combination product — in other words, two drugs combined in one tablet or capsule.

Because of space limitations, the charts don’t list all of the many combination products available today. But they do provide the information you might be seeking—all you need to do is locate each individual drug that’s part of the combination under its generic name.

For example, the drug Hyzaar contains losartan (available under the brand name Cozaar) and hydrochlorothiazide (available under many brand names and often abbreviated as HCTZ). To find the information for Hyzaar, you need to look up losartan and hydrochlorothiazide separately. If you aren’t sure about the generic names of your medications, ask your pharmacist or other healthcare provider.

Combinations are put together for an additive effect. For example, a common combination involves the two diuretics triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide. Triamterene causes the body to retain potassium, while hydrochloro-thiazide causes the body to lose potassium. When taken together, they help to balance potassium levels and work better than either does alone.

Many other medications for controlling blood pressure are available in combination because patients often need more than one drug to reach their blood pressure goal. Combining two medications in one pill also makes it easier for you: with fewer pills to swallow, your drug regimen is simplified.

It’s important to remember that drug combinations aren’t really “new” medicines; they’re just drugs working together as a team.

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Categories: Heart Care & Heart Disease, Type 2 Issues, Type 2 Medications

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