This study describes coping strategies that patients with heart failure (HF) use to manage adverse drug events (ADEs). The included coping strategies were social support seeking, information seeking, non-adherence and taking alleviating medication. The role of beliefs about medication and ADE perceptions in explaining these coping strategies was assessed using the Self-Regulation Model. We performed a cross-sectional study including 250 HF patients who experienced an ADE. Patients completed validated questionnaires assessing their coping strategies, ADE perceptions and medication beliefs. Social support (60%) and information seeking (32%) were the most commonly used strategies to cope with ADEs. Nonadherence was reported by 7% of the patients. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that demographics, clinical factors and medication beliefs explained only a small amount of the variance in coping strategies, whereas ADE perceptions explained a substantial amount of variance. Path analysis showed that patients' perceptions about the timeline, consequences and controllability of ADEs by the health care provider were directly related to their coping behaviour. The effect of patients' medication beliefs on their coping strategies was consistent with mediation through their ADE perceptions. Our results support the value of the Self-Regulation Model in understanding patients' coping behaviour with regard to ADEs.