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High Blood Pressure Medication Guidelines

Your doctor may prescribe medication you can take to lower high blood pressure. If complications associated with high blood pressure are present, other drugs may also be prescribed. Whatever the treatment prescribed for you, it is a good idea to keep the following guidelines in mind when you're taking prescription drugs.

  • Know the names of your medications and how they work. Know the generic and brand names, dosages, and side effects of the drugs. Always keep a list of your medications with you.
  • Let every doctor you see know what drugs you take and if your medication or dosage has changed since your last visit.
  • Take medications as scheduled, at the same time every day. Do not stop taking or change your medications unless you first talk with your doctor. Even if you feel good, continue to take your medications. Stopping drugs suddenly can make the condition worse.
  • Have a routine for taking medications. For example, using a pillbox marked with the days of the week, fill the pillbox at the beginning of each week to make it easier to remember.
  • Keep a medication calendar and note every time you take a dose. Prescription labels tells you how much to take at each dose, but your doctor may change the dosage periodically, depending on your response to the drug. On your medication calendar, you can list any changes in dosages as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Do not decrease your medication dosage to save money. You must take the full amount to get the full benefits. If cost is a problem, talk with your doctor about ways you can reduce the costs of your medications.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter drugs or herbal therapies unless you ask your doctor first. Some drugs may interact with each other causing undesirable effects.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses to make up for the dose you missed.
  • Regularly fill prescriptions and ask the pharmacist any questions you have. Do not wait until you are completely out of medication before filling prescriptions. If you have trouble getting to the pharmacy, have financial concerns, or have other problems that make it difficult for you to get your medications, let your doctor know.
  • When traveling, keep drugs with you so you can take them as scheduled. On longer trips, take an extra week's supply of medications and copies of your prescriptions, in case you need to get a refill.
  • Before having surgery with a general anesthetic, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist in charge what drugs you are taking. An antibiotic may need to be prescribed prior to a surgical or dental procedure. Also, let the doctor know if you are taking aspirin and/or any other blood thinners.
  • Some drugs may alter your heart rate, so take your pulse regularly.
  • Drugs that relax constricted blood vessels may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness when standing or getting out of bed, sit or lie down for a few minutes. This will increase your blood pressure. Then get up more slowly.

If you have any questions about your medications, don't hesitate to ask your doctor.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 23, 2012
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