DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME
Dr HELEN COWAN, a nurse with a PhD in cardiac pharmacology, reveals the mistakes people make with their medication. This week: Guessing blood pressure
I ONCE had a patient with heart failure who took ramipril (one of the common tablets for high blood pressure) and would ‘double dose’ on days where she ‘felt’ that her blood pressure was high (due to how she was feeling).
On ‘good days’ — when she felt it was low — she didn’t take a pill at all, which meant her heart had to work harder to pump blood around her body.
Ramipril acts on the kidneys and blood vessels to reduce the heart’s workload, essential for someone with heart failure, so it is risky to miss a dose. Meanwhile, double-dosing reduces blood pressure too much, leading to dizziness and fainting.
In turn, that could lead to high blood potassium levels which could interfere with the heart rhythm. Always follow prescription advice and don’t double dose, even if you forget to take a pill.