If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure levels. But, what if you miss a dose? Should you double up to compensate for it?
It’s better not to take a double dose of your blood pressure medication. Read on to find out why and also equip yourself with some superb tips to prevent missed doses in the future.
What does blood pressure medication do?
Have you ever wondered how your blood pressure medication works?
The first thing you should know is there are different categories of blood pressure medicines. Knowing what they do in your body will help you stay better informed about your treatment.
Diuretics help in eliminating excess salts and water from your body through urine. That reduces the volume of blood flowing through your blood vessels, reducing your blood pressure.
Some common examples of diuretics include hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide.
Here are some possible side effects listed by the American Heart Association.
- Some diuretics may reduce your body’s potassium levels leading to weakness and fatigue.
- They may increase the blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, it’s not that serious and gets cured with insulin or a change in medicine.
- Impotence may occur in some cases.
2. Beta blockers
These drugs block a hormone that increases your heart rate. That reduces the blood pumped by your heart, lowering your blood pressure.
Betaxonolol and atenolol are some common beta blockers your doctor might prescribe.
These medicines might have some unpleasant side effects like:
- Cold hands and feet
- Reduced heart rate
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
3. ACE Inhibitors
ACE stands for angiotensin converting enzyme. Angiotensin is a hormone that narrows your arteries, especially in the kidneys. ACE Inhibitors reduce the production of angiotensin, allowing blood vessels to expand. Thus, your blood flows more easily and your blood pressure decreases.
Benazepril and Captopril are some common ACE Inhibitors. Some of the side effects of these drugs include:
- Chronic dry cough
- Skin rash
- Loss of taste
- Kidney disease
- Harmful to both the mother and baby during pregnancy
4. Calcium Channel Blockers
They help in widening (dilating) the blood vessels by reducing the amount of calcium in their cells. Thus, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Some common calcium channel blockers are:
Calcium channel blockers can also have some unpleasant side effects like:
- Swollen feet and ankles
5. Alpha blockers
They work in the same way as beta blockers by blocking a hormone that increases the heart rate. Thus, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Prazosin hydrochloride is a common alpha blocker.
These drugs may have side effects like dizziness and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
6. Central Agonists
These drugs stimulate a receptor in the brain that reduces blood pressure. They follow a different pathway than alpha and beta-blockers but have the same effect on your blood pressure levels. Clonidine hydrochloride is the most common central agonist.
These medicines can have some severe side effects. For instance:
- There can be a drastic drop in blood pressure, leading to drowsiness and weakness.
- Your blood pressure can rise to dangerously high levels if you miss a dose.
What happens if you miss a dose of your medication?
If you miss a single dose of your blood pressure medicine, it’s not a problem. But, missing your doses frequently can lead to several complications.
Your blood pressure medication keeps your blood pressure levels healthy. Thus, it reduces the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. So, missing your doses will put you at a higher risk of these diseases.
Missing one dose might cause mild headaches and nausea. These symptoms will worsen if you continue missing your doses. You may also experience a condition called rebound hypertension. That means your blood pressure will rise drastically to the levels before you started treatment.
The sudden and drastic rise in blood pressure levels can be fatal.
Contact your physician immediately if you experience severe symptoms due to missed doses of your blood pressure medication.
What to do if you miss a blood pressure medication dose
If you miss a dose of your blood pressure medicine, never double up to make up for the missed dose. That can lead to several complications. For example, your blood pressure may drop to dangerously low levels. Thus, you might feel dizzy and empty-headed.
So, what can you do? Well, if you remember in the afternoon that you have missed your morning dose, you can take it then. But, what if you realize it the next day? Continue with your regular dosing schedule without bothering about the missed dose.
In short, take your next dose at the usual time.
When to contact your doctor
You don’t have to worry if you miss one dose of your blood pressure medicine. But if you miss doses regularly, consult your doctor as soon as you experience some unpleasant symptoms.
Monitor your blood pressure levels and see your physician if you notice any drastic changes. Also, check if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Severe headaches
Get in touch with your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Many patients experience side effects from the medicines. But, you shouldn’t stop your medicine suddenly without your physician’s advice. Check with your doctor if there are other alternatives for the drug.
Tips to help you prevent missed doses in future
Here are some pro tips so that you never forget to take your blood pressure medicines on time.
1. Store your medication where you can see it
You plan to take your pill before going out. But you forget to and realize it only when you are out of home. Does it sound familiar? You can keep some pills in your bag or pockets to prevent such incidents.
At home, try to keep your blood pressure medicines in a convenient place. For instance, you can put them on your bedside table. That will make it easier for you to find them and you will never miss any doses.
2. Always fill your prescription before it runs out
Many patients miss doses of their blood pressure medications because they run out of stock before refilling. That’s why it’s better to plan ahead so that you always have stocks ready.
You might have several things to take care of. So, it’s natural for you to forget. You can set a reminder on your phone. That way you will never skip a dose.
3. Set an alarm to remind you to take your medication
You have bought your medicine from the pharmacist and kept it in a convenient place. But what if you still forget to take the drug at the right time?
Don’t worry. Set a daily alarm on your smartphone. Now whenever your alarm rings at that fixed time of the day, you’ll know it’s time to take your blood pressure medicines.
Don’t forget to check with your pharmacist if you should take your medicine before or after having food. Here are some other questions you must ask your pharmacist while buying medicines.
4. Switch medications if your current one is too expensive
If the cost of your blood pressure medication is too high, talk to your doctor. They will try to find a more affordable alternative for you.
Your physician may prescribe a generic variant of the medicine. That will reduce the cost significantly. They might also reduce your medications and suggest some alternate treatment.
It’s better to be frank with your health care provider. Skipping a medicine because you can’t afford it is the worst idea and can damage your health in the long run.
There are also several assistance programs to help patients in need. You can get their details from your doctor.
5. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing side effects
Don’t discontinue your medication if you experience side effects. Instead, disclose your problems to your doctor. They will change the medicines prescribed earlier and give you new meds for your treatment.
Check out these essential oils that will help you relax. You can talk to your doctor and use them along with your medicines for hypertension.
Over to you
High blood pressure can lead to a host of health issues. So, make sure you take all the medicines your doctor prescribed. Don’t try to experiment with your drugs and their dosage without your doctor’s advice.
Still confused about your medicines? Health Hero Pharmacy can guide you to beat hypertension and stay healthy. Our expert pharmacists help you stay at the peak of good health.
Get in touch today!