If you’re a heart patient, you’re probably taking several prescription medications that work together to manage your condition. At times, you may wonder whether you really need all those pills. After all, your blood pressure is under control—do you really need to take your blood pressure medicine?
Don’t make the mistake of adjusting your healthcare provider’s dosing instructions. Stopping your medication or changing how you take it can be dangerous to your health.
Let’s face it, medications can be expensive. They can cause unpleasant side effects. They require regular refilling and trips to the store. And, quite simply, it can be tough keeping track of them all.
But not complying with your prescription medication instructions—skipping days or cutting pills in half without your doctor’s OK—can undermine any progress you’ve made at controlling your condition. Quitting blood thinners, for example, can increase your risk for clotting and make you a renewed candidate for a stroke.
Not only do you risk a health setback, you may also incur new, more serious problems. Studies have shown, for instance, that discontinuing statins can cause a rebound effect that triples your heart attack risk. And abruptly stopping beta-blockers can trigger chest pain or even a heart attack.
If you’re having a hard time with your medications, talk to your healthcare provider and be honest about your issues. Other drugs and drug combinations may be available that have similar benefits to those you’re taking. And if your health status has changed, your doctor may be able to lower your dosages or tweak your prescriptions in other ways so taking your medication is an easier pill to swallow.