ZocdocAnswersHow many blood pressure medicines should one take?

Question

How many blood pressure medicines should one take?

My dad has been medicated for more than a year for his high blood pressure. It has brought his blood pressure down significantly, but still not to safe levels, so now his doctor is talking about getting him on a second medication. This seems crazy to me. Is it really safe to take multiple blood pressure medications, even if it works?

Answer

High blood pressure is one of the most common medical conditions in adult patients. Controlling blood pressure is important as high blood pressure contributes to the risk of heart attacks and other serious illnesses. The physicians who are well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your internal medicine doctor or your family medicine doctor. Most cases of high blood pressure do not have a single clear defining cause. At the same time blood pressure tends to worse with age. Therefore most older adults who have high blood pressure may experience worsening of their blood pressure requiring the addition of extra medications. In fact, most adult patients with high blood pressure require 2-3 medications taken simultaneously to achieve good control of their blood pressure. Rarely, a sudden increase in blood pressure that seems out of proportion to the patient's past history can indicate a new underlying medical condition that must be identified and treated, such as a tumor secreting hormones that raise the blood pressure or a narrowing in the arteries that feed blood to the kidneys. As always, the diagnosis and management of your father's specific condition will require a physical examination by and discussion with his physician. Scheduling an office visit to evaluate options is highly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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