Managing High Blood Pressure Medications

When your health care professional prescribes blood pressure medication

As part of a solution designed to fit your needs, your health care professional may determine that you need prescription medication in addition to lifestyle changes to control your high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Talk to your doctor and pharmacist if you have concerns.

While you might have fears and concerns, the long-term health consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure are often worse than any medication side effects. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Everyone involved has the same priority — putting your health first.

Getting it right

Treating high blood pressure requires time, patience and care by both you and your health care professional. The important thing is for you to communicate with your health care professional and to follow his or her course of treatment.

  • Don’t insist that your health care professional prescribe certain drugs. Always discuss any medication choices with your health care professional and work together to control your blood pressure.
  • Take medications for high blood pressure — exactly as prescribed — for as long as required. Taking a pill every other day or splitting your pills in half to make them last longer is actually decreasing your dosage and may be dangerous.
  • You may need more than one prescription. Because different drugs do different things in the body, you may need more than one medication to properly manage your blood pressure.
  • If you are having a hard time affording your medications, talk to your health care professional or pharmacist. There may be solutions like assistance programs or generic forms of medication.
  • Tell all of your health care professionals about all of the over-the-counter and prescription drugs you are taking. Some drugs and supplements can raise blood pressure and/or interfere with the effectiveness of high blood pressure medication.
  • Be patient if it takes time to find the right dose for you. Different people can respond very differently to medications. Many people have to go through a trial period to find out which medications work best with the fewest side effects. If you don’t feel well after taking a medication, let your health care professional know so he or she can adjust your treatment.
  • Keep appointments with your health care professionals.
  • If you’re working with a primary care health care professional and a specialist, make sure that each knows what the other has prescribed. Using one pharmacy for all your prescriptions also helps avoid dangerous drug interactions.
  • Expect to treat high blood pressure for life. Some form of treatment must be continued over a lifetime for good results.
  • Even if you’re feeling fine, NEVER cut back or quit taking the prescribed medication. Never stop taking prescribed drugs, including medications that lower blood pressure, without consulting your doctor. Medication and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. However, it’s the combination of these factors that’s working, not just lifestyle alone.
  • Track your treatment. Download a printable medication chart (PDF) and blood pressure tracker (PDF).
  • Learn about the lifestyle changes you can make to work with your medication.