Taking High Blood Pressure Drugs Properly
Organize Your Medications
It can be frustrating to keep track of so many pills to take. Was that pink one supposed to be one or two? In the morning or twice a day? With or without food? You can reduce some of this confusion by organizing your medicine for a day or even for an entire week.
- Keep all your medication in one location, such as on your nightstand or on the kitchen counter (out of the reach of children). This way you can find your medicine when you need it.
- Find a pillbox that meets your needs. You'll see a variety of them at your local drugstore or pharmacy. Some have separate compartments for each day of the week. Some have three or four compartments for each day, so that you can organize your pills by time of day.
- If you find yourself feeling confused or frustrated, ask a friend or family member to help.
Remember to Refill Your Prescriptions
High blood pressure drugs need to be taken on schedule. So don't let your supply run out! This can be tricky, especially if you use multiple drugs and different pharmacies. See if any of these suggestions might help:
- Find out exactly how soon you can reorder your prescription. Usually it's about a week before your current supply runs out. Insurance companies have different rules for how early you can request a refill before the current supply runs out.
- Try to use only one pharmacy. It will be easier to talk to a pharmacist about possible drug interactions among prescription and nonprescription drugs and supplements and make sure you are not taking duplicate medicines.
- Use a friend or family member to help you find your way through the insurance, mail order, or other groups you must deal with in order to get your refills.
- Mark a calendar with the dates for reordering. Some online or mail-order suppliers will keep track of this for you, as well.
- If you're planning to travel, have all of your medication ready to go with you. Keep it with you, rather than in your checked baggage when flying.
Follow the Other Parts of Your High Blood Pressure Treatment Plan
When it comes to treating high blood pressure, it's likely that you and your doctor have talked about steps in addition to taking medication. These steps can help make your medicine work even better to control blood pressure. Here are some of the other steps that might be part of your plan:
- Eat a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meat and dairy foods.
- Watch how much sodium you eat in your diet. Most of the sodium you eat comes from packaged or processed foods.
- Watch how much alcohol you drink. Ask your doctor about an appropriate amount.
- Don't use cigarettes or other tobacco products.
- Get as close as you can to a healthy weight. Your doctor can help you determine an appropriate goal.
- Get regular physical activity. Try for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
- Learn ways to relieve stress, such as relaxation techniques.
For each of these steps, your doctor can give you more information and get you started. Or your doctor may refer you to other health professionals who can help. Some health centers even offer free or inexpensive classes in these areas.