Harvard Heart Letter

Adjusting your blood pressure medicines at home

It's not quite DIY yet, but some people may be able to self-manage their blood pressure drugs with good results.

Today's medications are remarkably effective in controlling dangerous high blood pressure (hypertension). But the drugs don't work for everyone, and some people don't take their medications as prescribed. To compound the problem, doctors are often slow to make changes to a patient's drug regimen even when they see blood pressure readings that are clearly outside of the desired range.

A long history of self-management

People with diabetes have a long and successful track record of checking their blood sugar readings and tailoring their drug dosages accordingly. "Many people with diabetes routinely use blood glucose monitors and adjust their insulin dose based on treatment plans from their doctors," says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Similar monitoring is also done in people with heart failure, primarily in response to weight changes.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »