Johns Hopkins Health Alert
Are You Forgetting to Take Your Blood Pressure Medication?
High blood pressure is a silent disease. So even though you may feel great, it’s critical that you take your blood pressure medication. Here’s are some practical tips to help you remember.
Many people don’t take their medications as often as they should and this is particularly true when it comes to blood pressure drugs. Even though high blood pressure is a silent disease, its treatment is no less important than that for any other illnesses you might have. Here’s some advice to help you remember to take your blood pressure pills:
- Buy and use an inexpensive plastic pillbox (available at pharmacies). Look for one with seven compartments that correspond to the days of the week (Sunday through Saturday), as well as times of day (morning, noon, evening), and keep your blood pressure medication there. It will help you organize your blood pressure pills, and give you a way of keeping track of what pills you need to take and when.
- Leave a Post-It note on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror, or anywhere else you’re likely to see it, as a reminder to take your blood pressure pills. Or set your watch, alarm clock or cell phone to alert you to take your blood pressure medication.
- Take your blood pressure pills at the same time each day, and at the same time as an everyday activity (for example, eating breakfast or brushing your teeth). This will help make taking your blood pressure medication a part of your daily routine.
- Medical pagers and electronic pillboxes are also available. These products make a beeping noise when it’s time for your blood pressure medication. Some of the electronic pillboxes even record the day and time when the cap of the pillbox was opened.
- Each time you take your blood pressure medication, write it down in a log or on a calendar, including the date and time that you took it.
And by the way, if you forget to take your blood pressure pills, don’t “double up” with an extra dose to make up for the lapse. Instead, just take your next scheduled dose. When you travel, make sure to pack an adequate supply of blood pressure pills in your carry-on luggage, purse or briefcase. Also, bring some extra pills with you in case your return home is delayed.
Never stop taking your blood pressure medication (or adjust its dose) on your own without first discussing it with your physician. Doing so can cause a dangerous spike in your blood pressure. Nor should you take a smaller dose (or skip a dose) in order to make your medicine last longer. Let your doctor know if you’re having difficulty sticking with or paying for your blood pressure pill regimen, and he or she may have some suggestions. In addition, don’t forget to refill your prescription with plenty of time to spare so you don’t run out of pills.
Posted in Hypertension and Stroke on January 30, 2007
Reviewed June 2011
Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer
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