Fact Checked

High Blood Pressure? Not So Fast With The Meds!

High blood pressure is a common medical condition, responsible for many trips to the pharmacy. In 2014, medications to treat high blood pressure accounted for more than 600 million filled prescriptions, with an average patient co-pay of $311 per year. This may now change, at least slightly. The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have just issued new guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure.

How Has The Guideline Changed?

The new guideline concerns older patients, those above 60 years of age. According to the old treatment recommendations, doctors were directed to prescribe medication, if such a patient had systolic pressure above 140. The new guideline recommends holding off treatment unless the systolic pressure reaches 150. The reason being that the more aggressive treatment doesn’t seem to add much benefit for the patient, if the patient is otherwise healthy.

The Exceptions

Because treatment is rarely a one-size-fits-all proposition, there are some exceptions to the new recommendations. If the patient has a history of stroke or mini-stroke, or if the patient has a history of heart disease, it may still be advisable to aim for a systolic pressure of 140 or lower. In high-risk cases, aiming for the lower number can help ward off future problems. The doctor should assess these risk factors on an individual basis.

What Does It Mean For You?

If you are over 60 and are being treated for high blood pressure, you may want to book an appointment with your doctor to assess your blood pressure and your medications in light of the new treatment recommendations. Do not stop your medication on your own, just because your blood pressure is keeping steady below 150. This is a decision that needs to be discussed with your doctor, and more is involved than just the number.

Staying On The Medication

If your doctor thinks it is important for you to continue with your blood pressure medication, it is important that you continue to take it as directed. Apart from the headache of remembering to take your pills, this may also represent a financial hardship, especially if you have poor prescription coverage or a high deductible. Let us help you. At USA Rx, we negotiate better prices on drugs and pass the savings to you. Sign up for a USA Rx pharmacy discount card, and start saving on your blood pressure medication right away.