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, 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.