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Taking High Blood Pressure Drugs Properly

If you're like most people with high blood pressure, drugs are a major part of your plan to lower your blood pressure. Your doctor's goal is to find the right combination of high blood pressure medicines that accomplishes these goals:

How can you work with your doctor to make sure your high blood pressure medicine is meeting these goals? Perhaps these 10 tips can help.

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Make a List of All of Your High Blood Pressure Medications

Your doctor has many high blood pressure medications to choose from. They work in different ways to lower your blood pressure. Each type of drug has its own possible side effects, so it's a good idea to know exactly which high blood pressure medicines you take. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions:

  • What are the names of my high blood pressure drugs? Ask for both the brand name and the generic name.
  • How does this medication help lower my blood pressure?
  • What is the dose?
  • How often do I take the medication?

Make a list of your high blood pressure drugs, and make a few copies of the list. Take the list with you whenever you visit a health care professional. Give copies to any family members or friends who help with your health care.

Know the Possible Side Effects of Your High Blood Pressure Drugs

Each type of high blood pressure drug has possible side effects. Some side effects may be temporary; some may be more lasting. Some side effects are bothersome; some may be potentially dangerous. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions about each of your medications:

  • What side effects might occur? Which are common and which are rare?
  • What should I do if I notice side effects?
  • Are there medicines, food, or beverages that can interact with this drug?
  • What are serious side effects that I need to be aware of?

Take Your High Blood Pressure Drugs Exactly as Prescribed

High blood pressure drugs work best if you take them as your doctor has prescribed them. So you need to take the right amount at the right times every day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions:

  • How much of the medication should I take?
  • How often should I take it?
  • Are there special instructions, such as to take the drug with food?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

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