• Make your medicine schedule as simple as you can.
    Take your medicines when you are doing other things, like eating a
    meal or getting ready for bed. This will make it easier for you to remember to
    take them.
  • Take a list of your medicines-or
    bring your medicines with you-when you visit your doctor. Include any medicines
    that were prescribed by other doctors and all your
    nonprescription medicines including vitamins and supplements. Review the list with your doctor, and discuss any
    side effects you are having or need to watch for.
  • Talk with your
    doctor if you are having problems with your medicine schedule. Your doctor may
    be able to change your medicines or change the times you
    take them.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have
    any changes in your health that might affect your blood pressure, such as
    weight gain, side effects of medicines, or another medical
  • Consider daily or weekly pill
    containers. These can help you remember which medicines to take and
    when to take them.
  • Follow healthy lifestyle habits.
    These include staying at a healthy weight, exercising, not
    smoking, and following a
    healthy eating plan. If
    you do these things, your doctor may be able to
    reduce the amount of medicine you take. And the medicines may
    work better.

How can you take your blood pressure medicines properly?

Medicines work really well to control high blood pressure in
most people. But they won’t work if you don’t take them as directed.
Here’s how you can get started on taking your medicines properly.

Get organized

It may not be too hard for
most people to remember to take just one pill a day. But if you start adding
more pills-pills that you need to take at different times and in different
doses-it can get confusing.

A key to taking
your medicines properly is to stay organized:

  • Make a list. Make a written or typed list of every
    medicine you take, including things like aspirin and
    vitamins. Keep it up to date. Take a copy with you
    every time you go to the doctor.
    Use a form (What is a PDF document?). Include space to
    write down any side effects you have.
  • Make a schedule. Make a
    written or typed daily schedule of when you should take each of your medicines.
    Put it where you can easily see it every day-on the door of your
    medicine cabinet, for example.
    Use a daily planner (What is a PDF document?). Take it along when you travel.
  • Use a pillbox. Pillboxes can
    really help you keep track of your pills. Some hold a week’s worth, with
    separate compartments for morning, noon, evening, and
  • Use alarms.
    Set your computer, wristwatch, or cell phone to beep when it’s time to take
    your pills.
  • Simplify. Ask your doctor if you can
    make your pill schedule simpler. For example, maybe you could take
    one longer-acting pill every day instead of several shorter-acting
  • Control costs. Compare prices between several
    drugstores, and consider mail-order
    drugstores. Ask your doctor if there is a generic brand you can take to save

Become an expert

more you know about your medicines, the easier it will be to stay on your
schedule and take your pills properly.

  • Know your
    Have your doctor clearly explain what
    each medicine does. Write down both the
    brand and
    generic names. Have your doctor check the list. You
    can use this list to verify that the medicines you get from the pharmacy are
  • Store medicines properly. Your
    doctor or pharmacist can tell you how to store your
    medicines. Don’t let your medicines get too hot or too
    cold. Always store them out of the reach of
  • Watch for side effects. Ask your
    doctor or pharmacist about what side effects to expect. Write them
    down if you don’t think you’ll be able to remember them. Be sure to
    tell your doctor if you have side effects.
  • Have a plan for missed doses. Talk with
    your doctor about what you should do if you accidentally miss a dose of a
    medicine. Discuss what to do for each medicine, because it may be different for
    each one. Write it down.
  • Talk to your doctor before you start taking other medicines. This includes other prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines
    can interact with each other and keep blood pressure medicines from working
    right. Or they can cause a bad reaction. Medicines that
    could cause a problem include:

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as
      ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen,
      naproxen (for example, Aleve or Naprosyn), and piroxicam (Feldene).
    • Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (for example, Sudafed).
    • Cold and flu medicines. These often contain decongestants and NSAIDs.
    • Antacids and other stomach medicines, which are often high in sodium.
    • Herbal or homeopathic remedies.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD – Cardiology

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017