As you may know, on May 27, 2011 I hosted a live on-line blood pressure chat. As promised, I want to answer some of the questions on the blog, for those who were not able to attend. Plus, these important questions and answers certainly bear repeating.
Safely Quitting Blood Pressure Medication
Reader Question: I am on 5 mg of Nadolol and 1.25 mg of Amlodipine and I want to reduce the dosage, as my blood pressure is now stable (120/80 for last 9 months). Do I reduce the dosage daily or can it be taken every other day at same dosage? These blood pressure medications are supported by fish oil supplements, exercise, and a high plant and fruit diet.
Dr. Sinatra’s Answer: Good for you for holding steady at 120/80 for 9 months! Anyone considering tapering off of a prescription blood pressure medication must do so under the supervision of a doctor.
So it is imperative that you work with your doctor as you move forward. You can discuss with your doctor the following strategies I’ve found helpful in the past:
I get my patients down to a low dose of the prescription blood pressure medication.
- I make sure my patients are exercising, keeping their weight down, eating properly, maintaining lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure, are faithful to a sensible nutritional supplement regime and can track their blood pressures daily at home for me.
- I give them a blood pressure log to keep, with parameters on when they need to call me.
- I schedule office visits every two weeks to track their progress carefully while they taper.
- I halve the dose of blood pressure medication for two weeks, and then check their blood pressure.
- I halve the dose again for the second two weeks if the blood pressure is stable, then I check them again, and so on.
- Should the blood pressure creep up, we may have to go back to the blood pressure medication dose that works, and hold it there for a while longer.
Some folks may need low-dose blood pressure medication even when they do everything right. Most are successful if they adhere to the plan long term. I hope you are one of them! If you stick to a good lifestyle-oriented preventive program, you’re more likely to succeed.
Now It's Your Turn: Have you come off blood pressure medication?
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