Patients with high blood pressure often forget to take pills

New research findings from an Irish study conducted in GP practices found that 1 in 4 people whose high blood pressure appears resistant to drug treatment are simply not taking their medicine properly. And 1 in 50 did not take it at all.

As blood pressure has few symptoms, patients are often not aware of all the risks. However, high blood pressure can have devastating consequences, leading to heart attacks and strokes.

Medications give the best chance of controlling high blood pressure but some patients appear to not respond to treatment. To find out why, researchers Prof Andrew W Murphy (Director or the HRB Primary Care CTNI), Dr. Peter Hayes and colleagues, tested the urine of 235 patients and found that 24 per cent took only some of their medication or took it only some of the time, while 2 per cent did not take it at all.

The study which was recently published in The British Journal of General Practice also reported that 27% of apparently treatment-resistant patients had “white-coat hypertension”, where a patient’s blood pressure rises when it is measured by a doctor.

Peter Hayes, GP and researcher at the Health Research Institute at the University of Limerick, said that doctors needed to have “frank discussions” with patients about whether or not they were taking their tablets. He said, “Many patients intend to take their medication but simply forget to do so; absolute refusal to take medication is rare. We believe that consensually checking adherence to medications in patients with poorly controlled blood pressure is a way of opening discussions, between doctor and patient, about the issue. Both parties can then jointly work to solve the problem.”

The paper is available here:

Click here for Info graphic and more study information