Reminder: Don't skip blood pressure medication

For many people, sticking to a medication regimen is necessary to control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. But millions of older adults aren't taking their blood pressure drugs (antihypertensives) as directed, suggests a study published Sept. 16, 2016, in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers combed through the data of 18.5 million Medicare Part D enrollees ages 65 or older who'd had two or more antihypertensive prescriptions filled in a 90-day period in 2014. The analysis found that more than a fourth weren't adhering to their regimen, which means they may have skipped doses or stopped taking the drugs.

There are many reasons why people don't stay on their medications, such as cost, confusion about directions, or side effects. But there are also ways to combat those challenges, such as asking your doctor or pharmacist for less expensive options, making sure you know what your medication is for and what it looks like, and reporting drug side effects to your physician immediately.

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