Cardiotoxicity is a common complication of cancer treatment. Several different medications can be prescribed to help alleviate these complications, with specific prescriptions designed to address different cardiotoxic side effects.
The most common medications used for cardiotoxicity treatment include:
- Beta-blockers, which slow down a patient’s heart rate to help improve blood flow and reduce palpitations, arrhythmias and high blood pressure
- ACE inhibitors, which help dilate (widen) the arteries, or vasodilators, which in turn help dilate the blood vessels to improve blood flow throughout the body
- Diuretics, which help prevent or treat heart failure by increasing urination rates to rid the body of excess fluids and make it easier for the heart to pump
- Digitalis drugs, which help make the heart beat more efficiently, which in turn can address atrial fibrillation, atrial fluttering and other forms of heart damage
Physicians can also prescribe cardioprotective agents to patients who have not yet started treatment. There are several different cardioprotective agents that correspond with different chemotherapy drugs; each one targets a different biological response to help reduce the occurrence and severity of heart damage. While medication is generally an effective form of cardiotoxicity treatment, patients who have very severe damage (to the point of irreversible heart failure) might be referred to a transplant program for a heart transplant.
Patients who are experiencing cardiotoxicity as a result of previous cancer treatment can access a number of therapies through Moffitt Cancer Center’s Cardio-Oncology Program, where skilled oncologists and cardiologists work together to manage each patient’s unique symptoms. This advanced program also offers treatments for pre-existing heart conditions that are present at the time of a patient’s diagnosis and could otherwise potentially complicate his or her ability to be eligible for cancer surgeries or clinical trials. No matter the condition a patient is facing, Moffitt’s expert team can provide a comprehensive, long-term treatment plan to improve his or her quality of life.
Referrals are not required to obtain cardiotoxicity treatment through Moffitt's Cardio-Oncology Program. Call 813-745-2718 or submit a new patient registration form online to request an initial consultation.