Is Skipping Anti-hypertensive Pills Advisable?
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Hypertension and Skipping Anti-Hypertensive Pills - A Small Step Towards a Big Mistake

Published on Nov 19, 2013 and last reviewed on Sep 16, 2023   -  4 min read


This article tells in detail about the misconceptions prevalent among people about having anti-hypertensive pills.

Hypertension and Skipping Anti-Hypertensive Pills - A Small Step Towards a Big Mistake


Blood pressure is basically the pressure faced by the walls of the blood vessels when the blood is ejected from the heart with a level of force. Under normal circumstances, this force is essential for the blood to circulate well in the body, but if it rises above the normal value, it is called hypertension.

Hypertension or high blood pressure remains one of the most common ailments that affect a majority of the population today. The daily stress, abnormal routines, reduced and poor quality of sleep, stress associated with smoking and alcohol consumption, low levels of activity, an increasingly prevalent sedentary life, and of course, consumption of salt and fat-rich commercial foods do nothing to keep the blood pressure of the average healthy worker normal.

What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure usually causes very vague symptoms. However, it is interesting to note that even among patients who develop some vague symptoms, very few seek medical attention. Most patients attribute the symptom to an ongoing process, work pressure, or otherwise and never get to visit a healthcare professional. For the information of the readers, most of the patients have non-specific symptoms like mild headache or heaviness of the head, sweating, generalized discomfort, breathlessness, chest heaviness, vertigo, and so forth.

Among the patients who visit a medical practitioner, high blood pressure is almost always detected on the very first visit. Most of these patients are usually advised to take medicine for hypertension sooner or later. Unfortunately, many of these patients, at some stage, interrupt the intake of these medicines, and some do not start the medicines at all.

What Are the Misconceptions about Anti-Hypertensive Pills?

Over a while, many excuses, which are misconceptions, have been heard by medical practitioners. Sharing at this moment a few that I have heard in my period of patient management:

  • If medication for blood pressure is started, it has to be taken all through life and can never be stopped.

  • All blood medications have serious side effects and should therefore be avoided.

  • They cause a lot of abdominal discomfort or other abdominal symptoms.

  • Anti-hypertensive medications can cause impotence.

  • I was feeling absolutely normal. Therefore I skipped the medicine.

  • I had the blood pressure checked after taking the pill. It was normal. So I stopped the pills.

  • The blood pressure was not fully controlled despite medicines. The medicines were ineffective. So I stopped taking the medicines.

  • I decided to try only lifestyle modification measures. If it does not help in, say, one month, then I will consider medicines.

  • I went to a holy place, and a godman told me that God cures all. So, I stopped the medicines.

Health practitioners would have probably heard many more unique excuses.

What Happens if One Avoids Anti-Hypertensive Pills?

The fact remains that the blood pressure medicines should be taken on a regular basis as advised, and they should be stopped, or any dosage change or the medicine change is done only by a certified medical practitioner. While lifestyle modifications are always the preferred method of controlling blood pressure, it should be realized that sometimes, one has to start medications and then later stop medicines when the alternative methods like relaxation techniques, weight loss measures and regular exercise, restricted salt intake, etc. start showing their effect. Almost every practitioner would have experienced a non-compliant patient (a patient who avoids medicines). Almost every patient has met a doctor who tells him to avoid skipping treatment.

The reasons why it is so important not to skip pills are,

  • Failure to take anti-hypertensive pills is essentially a dangerous decision on the part of the patient. The patients should realize that they are putting themselves at unnecessary risk. The risk of getting a serious illness, some of which are not only irreversible but also require long-term treatment, remains high. The diseases include a long list of disabling conditions. The most common is perhaps stroke.

  • A stroke frequently occurs in hypertensive patients. It occurs when they have an intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding within the skull). In most patients, the most common cause of bleeding is non-compliance to the anti-hypertensive medicines. The associated morbidity and mortality are also high.

  • Another associated condition due to uncontrolled high blood pressure is acute coronary syndrome. The person is at increased risk. Hypertension and coronary artery disease share similar risk factors, like obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, dyslipidemia (abnormal fat deposits), etc.

  • Renal failure, frequently a cause of hypertension, may also be caused by the disease.

It suffices to say that hypertension, a silent killer, should not be taken lightly. Do have your blood pressure checked today. No age group is safe. And please adhere to the medications.

What Are the Tips to Help One Stay On a Daily Dosage Schedule?

Some people do not want to avoid medications but may forget to take the medications due to messy or inconvenient drugs. Sometimes, the cost of the drugs may make one avoid practicing a daily dosage schedule. The following are some ways to make wise choices to help stick to the medication schedule.

  • There are various medications with different formulas like pills, liquids, and sprays. When you do not like to swallow pills, ask for a different available option.

  • If it is hard to visit the pharmacy once a month, an online doctor's prescription refill may be a good option. This will ensure treating the condition without having to visit a local doctor in-person.

  • It is easier to remember to take medicine when it needs to be taken just once a day. Ask the doctor about dosage choices or other decisions that can help to take the prescription drugs.

  • It may be easier for the patient to take one pill that packs two or more medications in it. Some of the high blood pressure medicines come in triple combinations that help the patients to take the medicines in a single dose.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
16 Sep 2023  -  4 min read




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