Cardiovascular disease

Unstable angina

(Unstable angina pectoris)

  • Also known as
  • Pre-heart attack chest pain

About Unstable angina

Angina is chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen that the blood carries. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. It may feel like indigestion. You may also feel pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common heart disease. CAD happens when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, reducing blood flow.

There are three types of angina:

  • Stable angina is the most common type. It happens when the heart is working harder than usual. Stable angina has a regular pattern. Rest and medicines usually help.
  • Unstable angina is the most dangerous. It does not follow a pattern and can happen without physical exertion. It does not go away with rest or medicine. It is a sign that you could have a heart attack soon.
  • Variant angina is rare. It happens when you are resting. Medicines can help.

Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. If you have chest pain, you should see your health care provider.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Top Medications for Unstable angina according to our users

Button Group. All currently active
  • All men

  • Brand (generic)% of users who said medication was worth it
  • Aspirin
    77%
  • All women

  • Brand (generic)% of users who said medication was worth it
  • Aspirin
    72%

All Medications for Unstable angina

  • Pain reliever > Salicylate

  • Anticoagulant > Anti-platelet

  • Antihypertensive > Calcium channel blocker

    • Calan
      (Verapamil)
      Prescription only

      Verapamil works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain, but you have to be okay with avoiding alcohol. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Delayed release capsule
    • Diltiazem
      Prescription only

      Diltiazem works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain, but you have to be okay with avoiding alcohol. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Extended release capsule

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Unstable angina

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