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Getting Off (Or Avoiding) Blood Pressure Meds

Posted 01/05/2015

If you’re currently taking a blood pressure medication OR your doctor has remarked that she’ll be keeping an eye on your “borderline” high blood pressure OR high blood pressure runs in your family and you have concerns about it, please read this Health Tip closely. The issues surrounding blood pressure are far more complicated than you might guess.

Importantly, your doctor, who we can safely assume intends the best for your health, may be basing her recommendations and prescribing your medication on what she may not know is actually some very controversial information. She simply may not be aware that she’s starting you on what could be decades of inappropriate medication for a condition you don’t really have…and one that isn’t even dangerous to your health.

In fact, based on new government guidelines in which your doc is paid less by insurance companies for failing to reach certain clinical goals (like getting your blood pressure down to a designated low number), she may be encouraged to prescribe more meds for your potentially non-existent elevated blood pressure. Read that sentence a couple of times and let it sink in. It means if your blood pressure is not at a particular “normal” level AND your doctor has failed to give you medication to reach that level, she can be financially penalized, even if your actual blood pressure level is totally harmless to your health. Tell me that’s not just a little bit spooky.

Part One: what exactly is “normal” blood pressure?
This simple question is actually fraught with controversy, backbiting, scandal, and truly egregious self-serving behavior on the part of highly placed–and highly paid–physicians, drug companies, and apparently neutral organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). For an idea of how the answer to this question has shifted, if you have some spare time take a look at this piece, which examines the scope of change in high blood pressure treatment over the course of a decade.

If you remember what I wrote about statins and high cholesterol–that lowering the number for ideal cholesterol meant an increase of multiple millions of statin users–precisely the same sequence of events has occurred with high blood pressure meds.

Over the years there have been numerous studies, all but one financially supported by the pharmaceutical industry, to determine a risk-free blood pressure number. When I was first in training, I learned that blood pressure levels normally rose with a person’s age. The magic formula we were taught? The systolic reading (the top number) was 100 plus your age. The bottom number should be 90 or lower.

Thus, a healthy blood pressure for a 50-year-old could be 150/90. Basically, you started treatment when someone’s blood pressure was 160/100 or higher. I remember one professor saying he preferred 160/95.

But then a series of studies began to appear in the US and Europe saying that the risks for heart disease and stroke increased if that formula (100 plus your age) was followed, and the ideal blood pressure was reported as 120/80, with treatment beginning at 140/90. And here’s where the controversy began.

Change the number, create a patient
Although data did show that patients with consistent blood pressure higher than 140/90 were at some risk for heart attack and stroke, there was not much evidence that using more meds to drive the blood pressure further down–to that magic 120/80–really prevented much of anything. And it certainly increased pill taking, side effects, and symptoms due to blood pressures actually dropping too low.

From Big Pharma’s perspective, “change the number, create a patient” is an important phrase, possibly a central tenet:

  • Bringing total cholesterol down to an ideal number anywhere below 200 with an LDL (the bad cholesterol) below 70 hits the financial jackpot. These strict guidelines will increase the number of potential statin users from 12.8 to 48 million.
  • Adjusting “ideal” blood pressure from 160/100 to 140/90 added 13.5 million new drug users. Trying to medicate people with 140/90 BP to even lower levels will add tens of millions more pill swallowers.

Added to the problem of changing the standards of what constitutes high blood pressure and what does not, doctors are well aware that most people get anxious in the doctor’s office and this itself drives up blood pressure. Called white-coat hypertension, this phenomenon has resulted in tens of thousands of utterly unnecessary blood pressure prescriptions.

I don’t mean now to deliberately trigger your TMJ, but it turns out that virtually every lead investigator of the studies that pushed blood pressure “normals” to lower levels had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as did (and does) the FDA and WHO.

My take on normal blood pressure
So what’s normal? Most doctors agree it depends on the individual’s situation.

Let’s call 145/95 (taken at home, not in the doctor’s office, over a number of days) borderline high blood pressure.

If there are no other risk factors (smoking, overweight, diabetes, previous heart issues), I start treating at this point or anything higher with salt restriction and stress reduction, including yoga, tai chi or meditation. If there are risk factors such as those just listed, I’ll prescribe a medication and discuss the lifestyle changes outlined below.

Very high blood pressures, like 160/110 or higher, do require prompt pharmacological intervention.

Part Two: which medication?
Here’s where the infighting among physicians gets nasty. It turns out that every study that had drug money behind it recommended one or more drugs that were newly released at the time and therefore high-priced: beta blockers initially (like Inderal), then angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors such as Lisinopril), angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs such as Cozaar), and amlodipine (Norvasc).

But each of these had side effects and were often prescribed in various combinations, increasing the number of possible side effects. Also, driven by that artificially low magic number of 120/80 or lower, some people simply felt poorly having such low blood pressures. The meds didn’t magically place you right at 120/80. Sometimes they overshot the goal. For example, a blood pressure of 90/60 can make many an adult feel woozy and lightheaded.

(This from a patient: “My dad is on three blood pressure meds. He has to stand up real slowly or he gets lightheaded and once fainted.”

The only study with no drug money behind it, the ALLHAT study (short for Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial), found that the oldest of the blood pressure meds, water pills called diuretics, were the very safest and had the very best outcomes for stroke and heart attack prevention.

Yes, there was fury.

Physicians receiving financial largesse from Big Pharma looked mightily for flaws in the ALLHAT study. The drug companies ran full-page ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association basically tweaking ALLHAT data in an attempt to prove their branded drugs were just as good as diuretics. But they weren’t. Diuretics were best.

With this background, what should you do?

  1. If you’re already taking blood pressure meds, work with your doctor when it comes to medication adjustment. Quitting or reducing blood pressure drugs is not a DIY project. If your physician doesn’t recommend going off your medication, ask him or her if you can be switched to a diuretic.
  1. If you don’t have your own blood pressure measuring device, buy one. It must be one that measures from your upper arm (not your wrist or finger), and if you’re obese be sure to get an extra-wide cuff. Take your blood pressure three to four times a week at the same time of day. Record all readings and bring them to your doctor. This will eliminate the white-coat hypertension issue.
  1. Seriously live by the DASH diet, which (don’t be shocked) emphasizes veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, and poultry and limits salt, sugar, and red meats. Nibble celery, proven clinically to lower blood pressure.
  1. If you’re in the group of patients with severe high blood pressure–diastolic (bottom number) of 110 or higher–and your blood pressure is controlled on meds, stay on them. If you’re on several blood pressure medications and your at-home readings are good, your doc may at least be able to trim the number of meds you take.
  1. If you have mild high blood pressure and are on medication, or you’re borderline and your doctor is considering putting you on medication, be proactive. Lose weight, stop smoking, begin regular exercise, and reduce your salt intake. Learn stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi. Consider getting (and using!) a portable Resperate unit (which costs about $99 online), the only biofeedback device FDA-approved for high blood pressure.
  1. If, after your best efforts, you can’t budge your BP below 145/95, try taking two natural products in addition to your medication: Vasophil, containing the amino acid arginine, precursor of nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels (start with one capsule twice daily, increasing to two capsules twice daily if needed) and CoQ10 (UBQH 100 mg daily).
  1. If you do need a prescription med, start with a diuretic (Hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg daily or Dyazide one daily or Furosemide 20 mg daily).

Just don’t be a victim of the several superficially unbiased (but actually highly biased!) organizations that have their best interests, not yours, at heart.

Be well,
David Edelberg, MD

Leave a Comment

  1. Jill says:

    Forgive me if I didn’t catch the answer in the above, but what do you do when your consistent BP(checked annually for employer insurance benefits) is in the 124/84 area and you are being ‘watched’ as pre-hypertensive?

    What if you can’t naturally get that hawkeyed number down and that number affects your “health scores” that will likely impact your insurance rates?

  2. Dr E says:

    Hi Jill
    I can’t believe that an ideal BP like 124/84 would affect your rates. There aren’t any health risks and if someone suggests meds, find another doc. That is really disturbing to hear

  3. Jill says:

    Thank you for your reply, Dr. E. It’s not a doctor, it’s the intermediary health plan monitoring group sponsored through Aurora BayCare Medical Center. They provide HRA– health risk assessments for my employer’s annual program.

    The 2014 results tell me 124/84 is considered pre-hypertensive. I will likely have something above 120/80 for the rest of my life, regardless of all the supplementing I do.

    If 2-3 years of above 120/80, and that I refuse medication to meet the magic number, I am concerned that it will impact how insurance will treat people like me. It is disturbing, frankly.

    We’ll see how the future unfolds…

  4. Jeff Wygodny says:

    As an anesthesiologist, I spend my life watching blood pressure readings every 5 minutes and over 20 years have a few observations and thoughts about blood pressure that are generally neglected in the literature. Anesthesiologists generally assess the adequacy of chronic blood pressure control by the intra-operative variability in blood pressure. Those with high variability are thought to be poorly controlled. In my experience, patients just on diuretics seem to have higher variabilty than other classes of drugs though admittedly it is difficult to know if there is some skewed selection in that diuretics are frequently “first line” meds and so we are seeing a class of people either recently diagnosed with hypertension and therefore not yet adequately adjusted or they are a class of people where the physician and/or patient are (IMO) in denial about the SEVERITY of the patients hypertension. I feel that many primary care physicians read that their patients are disturbed to be diagnosed with HTN and therefore give them a “weaker” class of drug initially to assuage their patients feelings. The second point I would like to make is that 140/80 in a 6’2″ male weighing 210 lbs is not the same as in a 5′ tall female weighing 100 lbs. In other words, smaller, thinner people should have and generally do have lower BP than big people. The purpose of BP is to adequately insure blood flow to all tissues. The more you need to fight gravity (in a tall person) or tissue density (in a heavy person), the higher the BP needs to be. That is why HTN is a normal reaction to obesity, for instance. As an interesting example of this point, giraffes have valves in the arteries of their necks to prevent back flow due to gravity (valves in humans are only in veins) or else their hearts would get massive hypertrophy in order to generate enough pressure to insure adequate blood flow to their brain.

  5. Jeff Wygodny says:

    I forgot to say in my last comment that in spite of my personal observations on diuretics, Dr. Edelbergs points in his article are right on target and I agree with his recommendations about not overtreating and life style changes. His point of view is sadly and shockingly under-represented among physicians.

  6. Paco says:

    Hi, This article tells that you should take medicines according to your health conditions. Not all blood pressure medicines have side effects some of them are very effective like i always prefer to use Zestril (Generic Lisinopril) that works by relaxing blood vessels, increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, further improving the ability of the heart to pump blood.

  7. S Patton says:

    Hello Dr. Edelberg,

    Are you still replying to questions on this matter?

  8. cliffmaurer says:


  9. Katheryn says:

    Dear Dr. Edelberg,

    I can’t believe I found this article. I haven’t had any meds for 3 days (BP started at under 100/65 on meds, sometimes lower). I was taking Lisinipril 25 mg. My bp goes from a low of 125/75 to a high of 155/ 92, depending upon what I’m doing. But my pulse is always around 100 or higher. It used to be 72 before I got on the meds. I’m walking on the treadmill, changed diet, etc. Can you tell me when the drug will be out of my body & when my pulse rate will normalize? Should I go back on a lower dose of the med?

  10. Dr E says:

    Hi Kathryn
    It will take 2-3 weeks for all side effects from Lisinopril to clear. I would suggest taking your BP twice a day, writing down all your readings and see if an upward trend develops. Maybe your lifestyle changes will have paid off so well you don’t need any BP med at all

  11. Debra Martin says:

    Thank you for this valuable information

  12. angie says:

    My husband was doing fine before he started taking medication.How can we go about getting him wheaned off medication? Your article was very helpful.

  13. Dr R says:

    Hi Angie. Sometimes medications are just necessary. If that’s the case, changing meds might help. If your husband is “on the fence” regarding need, it would be worthwhile looking for a doctor in your area willing to work with him on life style changes. If you’re in the Chicago area, please contact our office at 773-296-6700. Good luck.

  14. Betty Valenti says:

    I am on cartia xt 240 mg capsules once a day. I’ve been on them about 6 years now. My pressure has been normal but the dry mouth hasn’t. Is there another med that won’t give me dry mouth?

  15. Dr E says:

    Hi Betty
    Ask your doctor about the ARB medication group (Diovan, Cozaar); these are excellent and no dry mouth

  16. Betty Valenti says:

    thanks Dr. E for your response on dry mouth from my high blood pressure meds. Is this in place of the meds or just to take care of
    my dry mouth.
    Should I be concerned about any serious side effects?

  17. Dr E says:

    Hi Betty
    These would be replacement and are pretty much free from side effects

  18. Betty Valenti says:

    Hi Dr.E
    Thanks for answering me. Can’t seem to find the medsDiovan
    and Cozaar on my ins.list. Is there a different name for them or
    a generic? Who makes them? I’m the one with dry mouth from my meds.

    Betty V

  19. Dr. R says:

    Betty. Try searching for Valsartan or Losartan.

  20. Carolann Pezak says:

    You didn’t answer my question/ Which was are there any noticeable side effects when the doctor takes you off blood pressure medicine? (Losartan Potassium 25 mg)

  21. Dr E says:

    Hi Carolann
    At that low dose of Losartan, you’ll probably not notice anything. Obviously you will need to keep an eye on your blood pressure

  22. David says:

    First off Thanks for this info
    I was a 6.2 about 200lbs male that ended up with palpitations cause of HBP was having me a really bad diet of anything I could get my hands on my cholesterol was above 200 this was end of my 37 years.
    as soon as I was diagnosed I was given lisinopril 20mlg , astrovastatin 10mlg, carvedilol 10mlg and levothyroxine 25mlg cause of undiagnosed thyroid
    when I was put on the stress test machine and was put on the halter machine for a few days spent a few months waiting for the results got back a clear to go back to working out.
    so I got on a strict diet change my eating habits completely and began walking till I got to a running level have not stopped doing this since
    was taken off the atorvastatin and kept loosing weight and dieting finally I was able to get healthy weight of 155lbs with good cholesterol and got rid of carvedilol my last mission was getting rid of lisinopril.
    here i am at 40 getting rid of that last pill with a BP of 136/86 on the average there are days that i will go up to 140/90 but nothing that relaxing or a little running will put under control and now I weight 180 healthy muscle doing 10k runs every day for the fun also weight lifting I trust I will get my BP a bit lower but I am in no rush just enjoying the process of getting better thanks for this article I hope my story could help any one out there build the courage to do the same we are not built for pills or couches get out of the house and fight back get your health back!!!!!

  23. anna says:

    Dr’s have had me on metoprolol & hydrochlorothiazide for 14 yrs. I’ve been noticing side affects for a few years now. Like drained energy even when I get enough sleep, hard time walking because my feet bother me, lots of tingling in feet,and now I had to get a chest exray & there’s something growing in one of my lungs. I read that with the metoprolol that could happen.

  24. Bev says:

    There are several foods that are good diuretics so you may not need to take a rx one either. Also there are some good herbs.on another note, I had a stroke almost two years ago. My BP and cholesterol weren’t severely high but stress was unrelenting for several years.i was put on lisinopril and Vitorin and aspirin. My dosages are gradually being reduced. I want to be totally off them but my neurologist isn’t inclined to think that way. I also use alternative supplements and grain s and nuts,etc. Do you feel I am stuck for life on bp and cholesterol meds because of the stroke? ?? Thanks

  25. Dr E says:

    Hi Bev
    I’m afraid you’re stuck with the meds. Your neurologist just does want you to suffer a stroke

  26. Rita says:

    David Edelberg, MD Whoa Dear Doctor you told a lady that her Neurologist “just DOES want you to suffer a stroke” I enjoyed reading all the info and comments and your replies, but thought you should be made aware of a typing mistake. LOL

  27. Sara says:

    Hi Dr. E,
    Thanks for this info. I’m happy to say that at least several of the many doctors I’ve seen in the past couple months gave similar explanations about the meaning of the numbers, and how they were derived.

    What I would love to know, is if lifestyle management (namely exercise) can help remove the need for meds if they are not a factor causing the high blood pressure in the first place? That is, I had less than ideal lifestyle (full time consulting plus toddler does that), but still had great BP!

    I am currently recovering from pre-eclampsia from my second child; formerly, my BP was typically something like 117/68. During my bed rest, it was 150/100 when intensively managed, and seldom dropped… It definitely went higher. I made it a month like that before my WBC count dropped and baby was evicted (she’s fine, a healthy 33 weeker), and was up to 300 mg labetolol 3x/day plus 30 mg atelat 2x/day. 8 weeks post delivery, we’ve tried to wean me off the labetolol twice, only to go back up after a couple days off. I’m trying a third time, and have made it down to 50 mg 2x/day, but I’m worried I’ll be stuck here. With the meds, I’m in my normal range, maybe sometimes higher in the evening, but not hypertensive, but I feel tired and dizzy all the time (more so than normal newborn tiredness).

    The literature states that “most” people are better within 4-6 weeks, but fails to discuss what happens to the others. I know a few who never got off meds,despite no pre-existing condition, and I don’t understand what the mechanism for change in that permanent change in the body is?

  28. Tim Vicari says:

    Dr E –
    Thank you so much for your wisdom & FACTS. I have recently, (about 3 months), gotten off of Lisinopril but the side effect of my skin burning is continuing. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of this? The sad thing is I never really had high blood pressure after reading this article.

  29. Grace says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this article. It was very informative & I will look into it more. I was confused why a doctor would say they’ll prescibe medication to lower blood pressure 140/90 or higher. But when we got the blood pressure down to 108-112/60’s on a daily basis due to a diet change for several weeks, they say to continue the medication for a month & not be “focused on numbers”. But they are the ones who push the numbers & base medicating us on those very numbers… Yet when numbers got so low, they said we shouldn’t focus on the numbers & should lower dose more if there is lightheadedness [but the patient was probably already over medicated & they are just waiting for symptoms to show!]. I understand they’re taking precautions in not stopping a pill cold turkey after taking it so long, but they said they’re concerned about “rebound blood pressure” which doesn’t make sense if you changed your diet for good. Sorry if I’m rambling. I’m just tired from traditional healthcare not making sense to me.

  30. Mary says:

    As great as diuretics are in lowering bp, I wouldn’t recommend them speaking from personal experience. I was on atenol/chlor 50-25mgs for about 7 years. Through diet and exercise, I was able to come off of them about a month ago. So far, so good! However, the side effects I had from the chlorthalidone was not good. My blood sugar went high (non-diabetic, extremely cold hands and feet to the point I developed nerve damage in my feet and, I developed a cataract which I was told was also a dude effect from the diuretic. I’m only 57 years old. So, if you have another choice, try it instead of the diuretics. Better yet, diet and exercise and de-stress!!

  31. Patricia says:

    I had taken Hawthorne to control blood pressure . then out of the blue it went up to 150s+ over high 80s – 100. Rapid heart rate was the biggest problem. I can get the BP down but the escalated heart rate is a problem. Hawthorne isn’t working. Dr put me on Diltiazem. Does nothing g for BP. Mildly effects HR.

  32. Dr E says:

    Hi Patricia
    This situation requires additional diagnostic tests and at this point, you’ll need conventional, not natural therapies. From your description it honestly sounds like overactive thyroid so get tested for this

  33. Patricia says:

    I have already had a TSH and T4 done. Was told they were within normal limits

  34. Emma says:

    Dear Dr. Edelberg,
    This has been one of the best articles I have read about subtle variances in BP for individual circumstances, particularly after the rather frustrating experience I have had with (well-intentioned) doctors. I am a 38 year old female diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension at 40 weeks and subsequently induced. My BP continued uncontrolled for several days after my son was born and I was sent home on 30mg Nifedipine and 200mg Labetalol 3 times a day. My hypertension persisted, but I was eventually taken off Labetalol due to low BP, and kept on Nifedipine. I have been on Nifedipine for 10 months with very good BP. Recently my BP started to drop (and I experienced lightheadedness), and I was compelled to come off my tablets but my doctor was not keen for me to do this. I have now been 4 days off Nifedipine and apart from two spikes of around 133/95 when I was agitated, my BP during the day is consistently 115/75 or lower, sometimes 120/85 at most. My question is, is this perhaps a good indication that my condition is stabilising, or does it take a while for the Nifedipine to leave the body and I may expect an incremental rise in my BP over the next couple of weeks? There is a history of blood pressure in my family, although I had no BP problems until pregnancy. I am a healthy weight, I don’t smoke, and I have a good diet. The cardiologist has cleared me of any secondary causes for hypertension, but had speculated that perhaps I have now developed essential hypertension and will need medication for the rest of my life. I am little concerned about reactive BP coming off the drug, could this still happen even after several days off the drug? I am keen to make sure that I am not taking medication unnecessarily. The Drs are perplexed because usually pregnancy induced hypertension rectifies itself by about 6 weeks post birth and mine has persisted much longer than this.

  35. Dr E says:

    Hi Emma
    The nifedipine was gone after 48 hours. What you are calling a blood pressure spike when agitated is really not much of a spike. It is normal for your BP to rise when you’re upset or anxious about something–it’s the fight or flight response
    I think your blood pressure is pretty good. I assume you have your own BP unit. Now that you’re off meds, take your BP daily at approximately the same time. If, after a couple weeks you’re getting numbers as good as these then you probably don’t need the meds. BTW pregnancy induced BO rise can last 6 months

  36. C Wilson says:

    Hello, Thank you so much for this article. It and the comments/answers below have been so helpful! I am 35 years old and never had high blood pressure until after having my baby 4 months ago. My blood pressure was fine during pregnancy and before leaving the hospital and has always been on the low side before getting pregnant. When I went in for my 6 week check up was when they discovered the hbp. I have been on medication since then and it seems to be controlled now (usually around 120/88) or lower but I am anxious to get off of the medication because it makes me feel terrible. I am currently taking nifedipine and labetalol. I have heart palpitations, head aches, chest pains, swelling of the feet, and arm discomfort (both arms)…Im always anxious that I’m having a heart attack. I would like to know…Have you seen this happen with many women (developing hbp after the fact) and is it possible to get off of this medication or am I stuck having to take it for life?I do have a family history of hbp on my fathers side. How low of a reading should one have and how long should one have certain numbers before its safe to start weaning from medication. Thank you very much for responding!

  37. James Balyejusa says:

    My doctor has agreed that I add vasophil and COQ10 to my high blood pressure meds. Can you please recommend a safe and reliable source for the two products?

  38. Eric says:

    I just found this article because it was just the other day my doctor – who I just found by looking him up in my company’s PPO (similar) — the point is.. my BP when at the doctor spikes. I told him this. At one time, I had what turned out to be a non-emergency. Went to the ER, my BP was so high — they nearly kept me for that and not the other thing which I thought was a big deal but wasn’t. Anyway, 15 minutes later, my BP was fine. I told them — I have WHITE COAT SYNDROME. My current doctor — has tested my 3 times in a row — over a period of a month – It’s consistently about 140/80. The upper number may be a bit higher one time on his check but the lower is always 80. At one time, he measured after we chatted — again — he said at that point, it was back to a “normal” level – at least according to his thoughts. NOW, it’s high again — 140/80 and he says one more time and he wants me on meds. I already am on Paxil (the generic one) 20mg for anxiety. Obviously, him wanting me on more meds has my anxiety rising. Plus my mom is on BP meds and she said it took the doc (not the same one) forever to get her numbers right. I don’t want to deal with this if 140/80 is fine for a 45 year old guy 6’1, 215 pounds — non-smoker — non-drinker — and I get out for some exercise… though my BMI is not great.

  39. Vanna says:

    Do we even need to take meds why not natural there are so many remedies?

  40. Emilia says:

    I am a 5ft 4in 65 year old female and weighs 150 lbs. I have had at least 4 episodes of elevated BP in the last year, the last one was just two weeks ago when my BP reached levels as high as 170/100 and fluctuated between 140/99 to 130/90 for 4 four consecutive days. as a result my doctor prescribed coversyl 4mg 1x daily. I have been taking coversyl for 10 days now and bp is now down to 120/80 to 109/71 Also,I have started the dash diet along with exercise. My question is can I get off the medication if my BP stays consistent for the next while?? Thank you!

  41. Thomas says:

    I began taking Neo40,(“Nitric Oxide Formula”) two quick dissolve tablets, one AM one PM daily a little over a month ago to keep my BP in the 120/80 range. I’m a 67yo male 6′, 180 pounds. I also take Rosuvastatin Calcium, 5mg daily. Recent blood work showed elevated Potassium of 5.6 mmol/L and Creatinine 1.18 mg/d. A repeat blood test showed the same results. My physician reacted like I was critically ill even though I believed the elevations to be due to the Neo40 which I stopped taking. He wasn’t aware at the time I was taking Neo40. Are elevations like this usual or dangerous? My total cholesterol is 130, LDL 60, HDL 57. My goal is to eliminate BP meds and statins completely. I did have a triple bypass 8 years ago and sporadically have an irregular heart beat.

  42. Dr E says:

    Hi Emilia
    I think your blood pressure is now normal because of the Coversyl and that it just might return to the slightly elevated levels when you go off it. That said, if you start experiencing side effects (most common: cough, fatigue, insomnia) then be sure to tell your doctor. Also, it’s important to know if the elevated readings were in your doctor’s office or at home.Just being in a doctor’s office can raise blood pressure and too many people are taking meds for this phenomenon called “white coat high blood pressure.”

  43. Dr E says:

    Hi Thomas
    I doubt if the Neo40 is responsible either for the potassium issue or the creatinine. Cardiologists routinely prescribe statins after by-pass surgery, basically so you won’t get another blockage. All your numbers actuallly look pretty good!

  44. Frank Pilkington says:

    I live in the UK and have just come across your article, which I found very interesting and thoughtfully stimulating. I have been on Amlodipine 10mgs daily, Losartan 25mgs daily and Bisoprolol 1.25 mgs twice a day. The first two for hypertension the last one for Arrythmia due to a heart block. My comments relate to the first two, which I have found truly awful for side effects and I have now stopped the Amlodopine for 3 weeks with reasonable results, although my BP does rise to 170/75 when walking but reduces to 128/65 within 2 minutes. Because of the joint pains particularly my doctor and consultant suggested I stop the Amlodopine and now the Losartan to test whether these are the cause of my pain. My pain has reduced remarkably and I am hoping the rest will clear now that I have, today, stopped the Losartan. As a retired nurse I found your comments very realistic in the conclusions and would suggest that the UK is now doing exactly as you state regarding statins, BPs and now Diabetes. Like you, when I trained I was also taught the 100 plus your age to be a good guide as to what is acceptable but patients are now anxious if they get the slightest of ‘spikes’. Keep up the good work. I also must say for clarity that my primary health care doctor, called General Practitioners in the UK, has been excellent and works closely with me to facilitate my home trials. I do have problems finding meds that work for me as so far I have been physically resistant to all due to their side effects.

  45. Gregory Morgan says:

    Dr. Edelberg,

    What an amazing article. I’m a 50 year old male and have not regularly seen a doctor (I’ve since changed that stupid choice). I went to see a doctor about 2 months ago and my BP was 200/120. It was a wakeup call. I’m 5″10 and weighed 234 lbs at the time. My doctor immediately put me on 30mg Nifedipine and increased it to 60mg two weeks later. I use to be a runner and so I was mortified that I had turned into this overweight person with a high risk of dying young. I have made my life changes including exercise and following the DASH diet. I’ve lost 40 lbs and feel much better. My doc has since put me on 20mg of a water pill on top of the Nifedipine. I’ll do whatever it takes but I don’t want to be on medication if at all possible. One of the side effects is very dry mouth. I also worry about the long term effects. There’s no family history of heart attacks or strokes, but there is of high BP. I know that I don’t handle stress well and it impacts my sleep which in turn, elevates my BP. Today, my BP was 144/91. Since being on all these medications, my BP has never been lower than 130/88. I log in around 30 miles a week (walk and run…he has advised me not to do long runs yet which I miss). Also, I’m on Prozac 40mg. My goal is to be completely free of meds. I welcome your advice and willing to travel to Chicago to see you. Thanks.

  46. Dr E says:

    Hi Greg
    It looks as if you’re making great progress but some component of your high BP may be genetic. The long term effect of high BP is definitely more dangerous than the long term effect of meds.
    I suggest you continue DASH eating, exercise and weight loss but also see if you can do some relaxation steps like meditation or t’ai chi. As your BP continues to drop, simply ask your doctor to keep trimming away small amounts of your meds, Indeed, you may be lucky enough to get off them altogether. Best supplements for BP: magnesium (by Designs for Health), one teaspoonful daily), Cardiotone (one twice a day) Fish Oil (twice a day. Good luck!

  47. James Fraser says:

    What if you can’t get you blood pressue up,mine is around 114/48
    And the doctor just reduced my meda yesterday.

  48. Dr E says:

    Hi James
    It sounds as if your doc is doing the right thing. At that BP, your meds should be reduced and if it stays this low. can probably be eliminated altogether. BTW, when you read about people who live to be 95 years old, that’s their blood pressure

  49. Eric says:

    Dad is 92. Been on Amlodipine for last 2 years, others prior to that for 15 years.
    Recently, passed out and broke nose when pressure fell low. Was outside in the cold at the time. Cardiologist took off meds. What would you recommend? Read today, one week later, 150/104?

  50. Dr E says:

    Hi Eric
    Older patients can be VERY sensitive to prescription drugs. His 150/104 is decidedly high but his medication dose was probably too high as well.
    I would suggest starting at 1/4 his previous dose. If he was at 5 mg., get some 2.5 mg and use a half tab of these. Check BP at least every other day both lying down and standing. Increase by 1.25 mg a week (don’t go higher than original dose) and when numbers are good, remain there

  51. Cindy says:

    Hello, is it necessary to wean off of HCTZ?

  52. Patricia mays says:

    Dr. I am a 51 yr old female and I am on 4 blood pressure medications…this is worrisome to me. Can you give me any suggestion on how to go about talking with my docter about this…

  53. scott isom says:

    Thanks you for your help, I have been at 125/82 for years and still on blood pressure pills. I will work with my Dr now to get off of them.

    Thanks for your information!


  54. A Fashina says:

    I prayed God help and reward you greatly. Your article has helped in great depth. Very many thanks

  55. Gina says:

    Have you ever heard of Losartan causing muscle or joint pain? My hip and knee pain has been horrible since starting Losartan 100 mg. Dr. rolls her eyes when I mention this.

    Thank you so much for the informative articles regarding blood pressure. Really opened my eyes !

  56. Dr E says:

    Hi Gina
    This is from a website listing COMMON side effects of Losartan
    Cozaar (losartan) is an oral angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) prescribed for the treatment of hypertension. Side effects of Cozaar include:

    stomach pain
    muscle cramps
    leg or back pain
    sleep problems (insomnia)
    tiredness, and
    cold or flu symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, fever, and cough

    Tell your doctor to memorize it and stop rolling his/her eyes

  57. Kathy says:

    Hello I have been on Labatol 200mg 3 x a day since and procardia xl since 2/4 after an emergency c section within 48 he’s I developed high blood pressure…. After getting released I have been on the pills until 4/12/17… I have been off labatol since 2/12 and procardia since 2/7/2017…. Do they cause any withdrawal symptoms? After using them?

  58. Dr E says:

    Hi Kathy
    No withdrawal symptoms BUT should be tapered rather than abruptly discontinued to avoid a rebound upswing of blood pressure

  59. Shanna says:

    Thank you very much for writing this article!!!
    I have a question for you- how can I safely stop taking hctz? I am on 25 mg and my bp is 110/70. Since starting on the meds I have lost weight, been exercising frequently and also take magnesium. A dr told me to stop taking the hctz but when I tried I swelled up within a day so started taking again 🙁
    I would really appreciate any advice you could provide on how to safely stop the med. Will my body be able to safely process water again??
    Kindest wishes!!

  60. Dr E says:

    Hi Shanna
    Cut it in half (12.5 mg) and take that dose daily for a week, then every other day for a week. Then just use it as needed for fluid retention

  61. Shanna says:

    Thank You Dr E,
    Can decreasing the hctz to half dose cause heart palpitations? I started taking a half dose on Monday but am noticing some mild swelling and irregular heart rate and some palpitations.
    Do you think I should get this checked out?

  62. Dave Allen says:

    My blood pressure was 140/90 my doctor put me on 50 mg of low Sartain now my blood pressure is 120/70 but I’m also taking 4500 mg of citrulline will that help my arteries and can I possibly reduce my losartan if not do you still think the citrulline is good for my arteries

  63. Dr E says:

    Hi Dave
    My own blood pressure stays at 140/90 and my cardiologist just shrugs and doesn’t write an rx. You could probably reduce to 50 mg of Losartan and follow the DASH diet

  64. Shanna says:

    Hi Dr E! Thank you again for writing this article! It has helped me a lot. Thanks for your suggestion to wean myself off of the HCTZ. I went down to half a pill and was experiencing irregular heart beat for 2 wks due to my body adjusting to handling extra water again but luckily 2 wks later that has subsided. My bp is still low 97/76 when I check it at home or 120/80 in dr office so I am going to go off the med altogether but am planning to wait until I get back from a trip next wk as I figure a long flight isn’t the best time to adjust to extra water again. I’m thinking I will go down to a quarter pill and then nothing since I had a reaction going from a whole to half. Crazy all the side effects are of these meds that people are taking who don’t really need them. It’s amazing that walking every day can be the type of perscription many of us need. I am already feeling much better and less dehydrated even going from a whole pill to half.
    Thanks again!!!

  65. Marilyn Overcash says:

    Thank you so much. This is the best article I have ever read. I am taking Losartan and diltalzipam and feel horrible. I know the diltizapam has made me gain at least 20 pounds. Do you have any advice about this?

  66. Dee says:

    I love this article. This all rings true for me based on my own research. I just started taking hydrochlorithiazide 12.5 daily for hypertension 100/160. I’m a 57 yo African American female. I want to eventually eliminate all medications by losing weight( btw my bmi is 24.5) and reducing salt, sugar and “bad fats”. I was told African-Americans have higher rates of hypertension. What is your take on this idea?

  67. Dr E says:

    Hi Marilyn
    The villain is most likely the diltiazem. Talk to your doctor about switching you to a med from a different family or going off it altogether

  68. Dr E says:

    Hi Dee
    Your hydrochlorthiazide dose is really low but I don’t know where your blood pressure was when you started it. You might ask your doctor about taking half tablets (6.25 mg) and see if your blood pressure stays low.
    At 6.25 mg your doctor may decide you really don;t need anything

  69. Chuck says:

    Hi Doc, I am a 42 year old male. Over the past two years I have made some amazing changes to my overall health! I used to be 200lbs (I am 5’10’). I excersize regularly and eating healthy, except when I endulge I sometimes go overboard. My current weight is at 180lbs, I run at least 3x a week and trying to incorporate strength training. I am working on a half-marathon, so you get a big picture of my physical activity. I have been finding my blood pressure averages around 150/90 and sometimes 160/100 when I’m stressed. If I sit and breath for my next reading I can get it to 140/90! I started my health change journey because I did not want to end up on meds. I have also had high cholesterol. For a while I was able to get my BP to 120/70! But the high readings are back! It’s become frustrating and I’m concerned that my doctor will want me to take meds! I am taking coq10 l-Argenine and hibiscus tea (it seemed to help before). So, question is what do I do? I really don’t want to go on meds, but I don’t want to be unsafe. How much time do I have to try and correct this again? I have no symptoms by the way. I do drinks 3-4 cups of coffee too. Ok. Hoping to hear from you. Thanks.

  70. Dr E says:

    Hi Chuck

    Read about this product. It actually works for your level of blood pressure. Available direct from company or from amazo


  71. Josephine says:

    Thank god there’s somebody out there telling you the truth

  72. This information was very helpful. Thank you.

  73. Jon says:

    Two weeks ago I drank little too much alcohol, nothing extreme though. I got little hangover the next day, then I started too feel little dizzy and heavy over the chest, this stayed for two more days, the third day I had my BP checked and it was 180/110, went to the hospital and got medicine that I put under my tounge. Next day the pressure was up to 140/100, that day I saw a doctor he subscribed me to Benicar HCT 20mg/12,5mg, BP is well down usually around 120/80, but my head feel dizzy, any recommendation would be well appreciated.

  74. Victoria Grant says:

    Thank you, I know that this is the right approach for me. It puts my mind at ease, constantly fighting with my Doctor has become a nightmare, worst than the diagnosis.

  75. Dr E says:

    Hi Jon
    Most likely the rise in blood pressure occurred because of alcohol and hangover. That said, I wouldn’t abruptly stop the medication but work with your doctor to reduce the dose and then perhaps discontinue it altogether. Don’t do this w/o physician supervision–it is possible that you do need BP meds after all

  76. Yvonne Worsdell says:

    Am currently coming off almond opine I.e. Stopped. Am having withdrawal symptoms tired etc but not as bad as symptoms on the drug after 2 years. According to your article I wonder if I even needed a bp pill.

  77. Dr E says:

    Hi Yvonne
    Just make sure you or your physician is following your blood pressure during the weeks after you’ve discontinued your medication. Remember, not everyone can go off BP meds–some people simply just need to be on something

  78. Judy Baldwin says:

    I have been taking lisinopril 5 ml sometimes 10ml for a year. When I first started I was 25 pounds heavier. I have now lost all that weight and exercise and started feeling really lightheaded… Because I think the medicine was too much. I got off the medicine six days ago. My blood pressure’s in the 120s /70’s

    How long does it take to get lisinopril out of my system? I still feel lightheaded pretty consistently through the day.

  79. Dr E says:

    Hi Judy
    Keep yourself well hydrated, and, for no more than a week, be more generous with your salt than you’d probably been advised to do. The lightheadedness should clear.
    Congrats on your excellent self-care

  80. Roxane says:

    Hi. I am a 56 year old female, I’m on 3 different BP meds, my BP usually run high with a high heart rate. (my dr. words ur HR is on excerise mode at all times) with that said he put me on a pill for that. Which makes that the 3rd med I’m on. My BP has been really good staying around 117/78, I recently started the HCG shots and have noticed that my BP has gone back up to 140/94. Should I be alarmed about this. I had a complete work up before I started the shots EKG was good. Any advise you can offer would be greatly appreciated

  81. Shawn M Grant says:

    This is by far the best article I have read…I never wanted to be on a maintenance drug for the rest of my life. I never had BP until I turned 45- all the meds make my hair shed, I tried 3. I have started my proactive journey and I am on the path of saying good bye to all of these meds..this morning 138/84. I can beat this! thank you so much!@

  82. James Alvin says:

    Thank you, thank you and thank you! I am 57 years old and have been taking blood pressure meds for about 8 years now. I began with a beta-blocker then switched to an extremely low dose of lisinopril. I do have a family history of high blood pressure but I have always tried to eat healthy and stay slim. My doctor thinks I can begin to ween myself off of medication for blood pressure but recently my cholesterol levels were 250 so of course immediately they wanted to put me on statins. I refused to do so, wanting to work hard on my diet first but they just don’t want you to do that!!! I have recently experienced drowsiness and when I take a blood pressure reading it’s low usually around 110/70. I would love to get off the meds but of course now they put the fear of high cholesterol and clogged arteries to the table…. I eat very little red meat or dairy as well..My diet consists of lots of Japanese miso, natto, cayenne, etc…
    Breathing exercises have also helped with lowering my blood pressure…
    Should my cholesterol readings scare me?

  83. Anna says:

    I’m being weaned from 100 mg.of Losartan in which the bp was an average of 140/95. Now, it at 150/95 @ 50 mg of Losartan and the bp bounces a little higher sometimes. The BP has gone high on 50 mgs but seems to be stabilizing. Do u think its possible to get off Losartan. Its been 1 month.
    My doctor DOES NOT SEEM TO THINK THE BP BOUNCING IS A PROBLEM, but it scares me.

  84. k.r. harris says:

    Am on 30 mg lisinopril and for about 7 years hsve hair loss worse in past year and now almopdine has been prescribed, too expensive. What BP med does not cause hair loss?my bp goes ip and down and have been taking alprazalam when it gets bad. How can I quit taking bp meds?

  85. godelieve danker says:

    after having plaque psoriasis for 35 years it turned into erythrodermic psoriasis. It affected my heart and my lungs etc. I have been taking metoprolol and lisinopri for years even before the erythroderma. I would like to try going off my meds with supervision from my doctor if possible. Have you any experience between the connection of high blood pressure meds and psoriasis. I know that this is not the main reason for my conditions but would like to do what I can myself to be more pro-active through diet control, excercise etc. Thank you

  86. Dr E says:

    Hi KR
    I don’t know where you live but amlodipine is $3 a month at KMart and $8 a month at Costco–this is “cash”, no insurance
    Many BP drugs are associated with hair loss. The only group that is not are the beta blockers like CoReg (carvedilol)

  87. Jeff says:

    Dr. E

    My doctor prescribed Benicar 40mg HCTZ 12.5mg a few months. I’m 44yld 5’11 170lbs. Don’t smoke and no alcohol. I work out 7 days a week. On cardio days my blood pressure would drop to around 88/58 (I always check my blood pressure after my workouts). After 2 months taking the meds I started experience dizziness and have almost fainted after my workouts on cardio days (MWF). After the last incident in May 26 almost fainted at the gym, I decided to cut the dosage in half. After two weeks My BP continue to read below 90/60 after my cardio days therefore I finally decided to just stop taking them in Mid June. It seemed like I was more at risk taking the meds compared to before starting the meds. I have to always hold something when I get out of the soda to keep myself from falling from dizziness.

    It’s now been a month and BP readings after my workouts 133/95 on average. I have started taking a second reading in the late afternoons and at times my BP has been spiking up 160/95.

    What should I do? The side effects (including shedding of my hair) is not worth it because I have to limit my exercises because my BP drops to low. Would cutting the dosage to quarter of the original mg worth it? BTW, I don’t have diabetes and clean blood work and I’m a vegetarian.

    I had to ask you because my doctor appears to lack knowledge of the medications he prescribes and truly frustrating.


  88. Tad says:

    Dr E.
    I”m a 52 year old male in a similar situation as chuck. my morning readings are avg 129/85 but by the afternoon (my life can be stressful) i’m in the 150’s over 90’s and have seen the readings as high as 160/100. I just bought the resperate product and will be using that but my question is threefold. 1. since the average between morning and afternoon is still in the 141/89 range is this OK to try to treat with lifestyle mods first or since it does get to 160/100 occasionally should I start meds now? and 2. how long is it safe to do the lifestyle changes before (i’ve read 6 mos to a year but not sure what’s right) 3. what target number should I be looking toward and is that number the average between AM & PM readings or go by one or the other? thanks in advance for your help!!!……also are you willing to work with patients long distance? via skype or phone? I live in Alabama

  89. Dawn says:

    Wow! What an eye opener and written by an MD! I have often thought but didn’t want to believe that docs are in bed with the pharma and insurance companies. I have been on Lisinipril for3 years and taking myself off. I have had bronchial asthma since birth and it had become less of an issue for me over the years…maybe “outgrowing” it?? IDK, but what I do know is that since I have been on this HBP med, my asthma has become more of an issue to where I am using an inhaler several times a day and even in the middle of the night, along with other symptoms that are rearing their heads. I do not think this med is a benefit to me and today I decided to adjust my eating, watching hidden salt, and increasing exercise, This Lisinipril has me spooked and I do not like how I feel on it any longer. Will keep a close eye on things

  90. Benson wangombe says:

    I want to sue a hospital because of starting me with a level three drug instead of level one and causing me more problems yet they could have advised me to stop salt

  91. Benson wangombe says:

    Want to sue a hospital as my preceding comment states. What is your advice

  92. shawn says:

    Awesome of you mto speak in this field of government and doctor fraud. Thanks for helping confirm my research and side effects and being healthy and feeling terrible on doc prescribes pills. Thank You.

  93. cliffmaurer says:

    Hi Benson – Unfortunately since none of us are attorneys, we are not able to give legal advice. We wish you good health in the future, though.

    -Dr M

  94. Eddy R says:

    My blood pressure was always around140/80 generally. One day I checked it and it was 180/100. I wore a 24 hour machine and if confirmed it was high. The doctor put me on lisinopril 20/12.5. It worked to well and the doc lowered it to 10/12.5. I have been on this medicine for 14 months and I have gained 20lbs.

    I decided to try other alternatives and I am now taking 3000mg of Spirulina and 3 cups of hibiscus tea. I have broke my lisinopril 10/12.5 in half making it 5/6.25. I have been doing this for about 1 week and my blood pressure has fluctuated between 140/85 on the high side and as low as 100/60. These are afternoon readings between 6-8pm. I take my med at 7am.

    It appears to be working, your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  95. Rayn says:

    Hi Dr. I am a 44 year old African American woman and my dr just put me on HBP meds because my bp was 169/102! I’m not happy about taking the medicine but I take it. It’s been about 3 weeks to the day that I started takinlisinopril/hctz 10-12.5 mg and this week I started having strange feelings like aching in my left hand and wrist and heart palpitations I don’t like the way it’s making me feel and I want her to take me off of it. I know I can control I just need to lose some weight and make better food choices. Which I started doing as this is not a joke to me!! Do you think I would be a candidate to request a Diuretic understanding there is a water pill in combo with the bp meds she prescribed but this is the first time my bp has ever been any where near this high it’s been tethering between 140-145/95

  96. Dr E says:

    Hi Eddy R
    Your program seems to be working nicely and I’d just stick with it. Your blood pressure ranges, both the high and the low reading, are satisfactory

    Hi Rayn
    See what your doctor says about taking a diuretic alone. Since you sound very well motivated, this may be enough for you

  97. Dr. R says:

    Hi Natalie. This health tip was written in 2015 and the link has since changed (which is odd…). I’ve tried to find the original article we had linked to but was unable to locate it.

  98. Karen Hughes says:

    I developed diabetes from taking prednisone for asthma. My doctor put me on 2.5 lisinopril as a precaution even though my blood pressure was always on the low side. I have been able to get down to 2.5 pred and the diabetes is gone. Can I stop the lisinopril cold turkey or should a taper by cutting in half or every other day.

  99. Catherine Sawyer says:

    Dr. I am a 62 year old female with history elevated b/p. I was prescribed Lisinopril 40 mg, procardia 60mg, hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg. Stopped diuretic and removed salt and most sugar from diet. B/P is staying around 100/68. Dizzy most of time. What meds would you recommend removing or continuing? I have read now the diuretic should be taken I have no sign of water retention without diuretic

  100. Dr E says:

    Hi Catherine
    100/68 is simply too low a blood pressure for a 62year old. Let your doctor know. I’d start by reducing your Procardia by half. If blood pressure remains low, then drop it altogether

  101. Catherine Sawyer says:

    Dr. E, Thank You. My dr did not return my calls. I omitted the procardia and added 12.5 HTC. Continued dizziness. B/P at 3:00 am was 108/76( I also suffer from untreated Insomnia). This morning 122/86. Today dr office called and said to take all but HTC and follow up with appointment at an urgent care. Also stated that my b/p stats were not to low. Dr cannot see me until 9-12. I will only take lisinopril 40mg and 12.5 HTC today and continue to monitor b/p. Thank you for your informative site.

  102. Jay Thomas says:

    I have been taking Atenolol for years along with Losartan. Now Atenolol is on back order and I am being notified that I must get another drug in its place. My blood pressure is fine now on the drugs. I am wondering how to get off these drugs–I am exercising daily (biking, walking), do not add lots of salt to my food, do not eat a lot of sugar. I do not like the side effects of two drugs mentioned by pharmacy to replace Atenolol: metroprolol and carvodilol. Seeing my doctor on Oct 18. I do not want to take anything anymore. What are my chances?

  103. Dr E says:

    Hi Jay
    With the lifestyle changes you describe, you could ask your doctor to hold off on the beta blockers, take your blood pressure three times a week, let him know your numbers and he can decide if you really need them

  104. Bill Gertis says:

    Hi, I’m 62, had vhf 3 years ago. Now lost 70 lbs, reversed diabetes and take no meds, eat healthy, rejection fraction now up to 30. New cardiologist wants me on lisinopril for135\70?

  105. Lana says:

    I am so greatful for this info… Not to mention livid at having been put on bp meds in the first place with a white collar reading of 140/80!!! I’ve never felt so bad… In just 4 months of Pearinda I have arm & leg cramps, coughing till I gag, all day & night… Can’t sleep. It’s dreadful! I felt much healthier before.

  106. Lana says:

    Been on Pearinda for only a few months. How do I ween myself off meds completely? Tried before by taking half a pill for 4 days then quitting & honestly felt like I was going to die from pressure & pulpitations. My Dr says I must just stay on meds. I refuse. Pls advise.

  107. Dr E says:

    Hi Lana
    It sounds like you’re having difficulty with the ACE inhibitor group of BP meds. Ask youdoctor to change you to a different group, and then, maybe you’ll be able to taper them

  108. Elizabeth Watkins says:

    I have been taking Lsartan plus a water tablets for the past 7months , I have gained one and a half stone and have a dizzy and lightened for most of the time . I feel horrible , my doctor said only my bp was important , it is usually 140/73. Can I stop taking them ?

  109. Dr E says:

    Hi Elizabeth
    Start by telling your doctr how horrible you feel. There are other families of BP meds that may have fewer side effects. Then ask him about tapering your meds

  110. Nancy says:

    I am a 61 year old female. I am about 20 pounds overweight. My blood pressure was 170/90 so my doctor put me on amlodipine 5mg. I was having headaches which have stopped. I eat a healthy diet but was not limiting my salt intake. My blood pressure is now averaging 130/80. How long should I have to be on medication? It only seems to be high when I’m at work.

  111. Dr E says:

    Hi Nancy
    Your type of high blood pressure is called “labile” because it swings around depending on your situation. You’ve actually had the ideal response to a blood pressure med, going from a potentially dangerous number to a completely normal one. In your situation, you’re really better off just staying on the med–it is likely going to add years to your life

  112. yukon tanner says:

    thanks doc this gives me a trail to follow to get off of valsartan and the water pill. I have lost 2o lbs since Jan., reduced stress , less salt dash diet.and atai chi dailey.walking dailey and began lifting weights again….my regular doc passed away so am learning more on my own. I live on a remote 160 acre homestead north of talkeetna Alaska. blood pressure is running well below 140/90…..I am on it

  113. Ricky says:

    I recently had a hemorroghic stroke, and the doctor has me on Lisinopril 10 mg, and Carvedilol 3.125 mg for 6 months now. Lately I’ve been having a persistent cough, and some other side effects. Do you think that one or both medications is causing these effects?

  114. Dr E says:

    Hi Ricky
    It’s the Lisinopril and cough with that med is a frequent side effect. Let your doctor know and he’ll switch you to a BP med from a different family

  115. Jeff Conrad says:

    Hello 60yr old male ..just had stent and Doc put me on Plavix..not comfortable with it..what is a safer alternative,thanks

  116. Juliana says:

    Hello I am a female 55 with a family history of hypertension. My BP had been good at home but high at the drs office. This was the case for several years. Once I went to the drs my bp was high. She said to take it at home and keep a record. I became very nervous at home and my bp was high. It’s like white coat followed me home. I decided to switch drs and again I had high bp at the drs so she put me on metropol 25 mg twice a day reducing it to 25 mg once a day. Still my bp sometimes spikes from use of bp machine but if I calm down bp comes down. I exercise every day, do breathing exercises, yoga, reduce salt, decrease caffeine ( am a heavy tea drinker). I think I’m ok and want to be off my meds or reduce even more.

  117. Nancy Von Helms says:

    Came across this webpage when I Googled “blood pressure medications and stomach issues.
    I am a 70+ “mature adult” with severe arthritis, fibromyalgia and fluxuating high blood pressure. Had all of these illnesses for many years. Been on many meds, especially for the BP. To get to the point, am currently taking 25mg of atenolol in a.m. and 5mg of amlodipine in p.m. I HATE both of them but tried everything else. I have had foot pain, leg pain, stomach pain and flairs of irritable bowel.. Which of the BP meds might be causing the problem? Do you need more details? I have to stop taking the atenolol in a couple of weeks and switch to another beta. (bisenolol?)

  118. Maureen chater says:

    I currently take 1xtablet Bendroflumethiazide 2.5mg daily I have been on this medicine for 20yrs, every time I ask my doctor if I can come off them and see if my BP is OK he says no I should continue with the med I am now 70yrs old and have reasonably good health my parents did not suffer high BP my weight has been the same for the past 20yrs my dress size is 10/12 I take a multi vitamin magnesium and flaxseed no other Meds I just wondered why I still have to take them

  119. Dr E says:

    Hi Mary
    Your medication dose is so small that the chances for it causing any problems are minimal. Your doctor is thinking, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words apparently everything is fine with you and that small dose of med may be helping. Just stay on it and I hope you refill it for the next 30 years

  120. Michael J Louis says:

    High Dr on avareage my BP is 120/ 88 or 125/ 75 this is after me turning into a vegetarian. I’m on 3 high BP meds Labetalol 200 mg twice a day, Enalapril 20 mg once a day, Amlodipine besylate 10 mg once day. I do have side effects of shortness of breathe, severe coughing at times along with other issues. I lost about 56 lbs through eating very healthy and exercising and I ran a marathon also. I’m writing because I would love to get off completely from my meds. I’ve seen 2 Doctors and they both said the same thing about me being on meds for the rest of my life. Weight wise I’m 6’1 and 240 lbs muscular built and still dropping weight. I’m 42 years old. Are the Doctors right?

  121. Mario Capangpangan says:

    Hi Dr. E. I am 65 yrs old and will be 66 in Jan 19. Am also a stroke survivor and diabetic. I have been taking valsartan plus diuretic HCTZ 80/12.5 mg as my maintenance medicine for blood pressure. But in the past week until now, my bp readings have gone low to 100/60 or 110/60, and I feel dizzy every time I stand up. Is this still safe for me? Or will I reduce my dose of valsartan to 40 mg, while maintaining HCTZ? That is, 40/12.5 mg.? Is this a safe approach, or you have a much better suggestions, like changing meds, etc., so my dizziness will disappear. Thanks much.

  122. Mary says:

    This sounds a better alternative for me as I’ve had too many side effects on two different meds. The first med i took (can’t remember the drug, I had shortness of breath and the Dr changed the med to Amiodipine 5mg ,that gave me ocular migrants for three weeks, now he has prescribed moxonidine 200micrograms. and I’v just only started 6 weeks ago on this blood pressure journey, and have never felt so unwell since.
    My bp was 165/90-95 before and now 153/72 should i start this new med or ask about the fluid tablets?
    Would much appreciate your opinion Dr.

    Thank you

  123. Dr E says:

    To Mario
    Your BP is getting low enough to discuss lowering or even discontinuing meds with your doctor. You can probably drop the HCTZ component of the Valsartan/HCTZ–let your doc know about the lightheadedness
    To Michael
    Sounds like a trimming of meds is in order. The cough is caused by the enalapril and your doc will probably want that stopped first. If your BP stays low, then ask him to slowly taper the others, probably the labetolol first. Since you’re taking your BP regularly on your own, if the numbers are as good as you say, your doc will likely agree.
    To Mary
    From your numbers, you’ll likely need something for blood pressure. Ask your doc about the ARB meds (they all end in ‘sartan’). There are several and they have a very low rate of side effects

  124. Michelle Green says:

    What if you cannot take a diuretic because you have overactive bladder. I am currently on 40mg of Lisenopril. I️ have been taking my blood pressure daily for over three weeks and it is consistently over 140/90, one time it was 171/104. I am a 58 year old female who exercises at least 3 days per week (elliptical). Thanks.

  125. Dr E says:

    Hi Michele
    Lisinopril is not a diuretic and seems to be working for you. You do need to talk to your doctor about what’s available for overactive bladder

  126. Elizabeth Barry says:

    I am a 74 yr. old female who is being treated for protein in my kidney. I have been prescribed valsartan (40 mg) which caused serious muscle spasms. I was then prescribed Diovan(20 mg) and subsequently have significant muscle tingling and numbing pain in my legs. Have great difficulty sleeping. Years before, I had difficulty with a chronic cough caused by Lisinopril. My blood pressure fluctuates using a wrist device. (this a.m. 139/71) I need to stop the Diovan. Can you recommend an alternative drug that will treat my condition as well as control my blood pressure. My doctor says there are no other options for meds.

  127. Dr E says:

    Hi Elizabeth
    I would suggest seeing a kidney specialist (nephrologist). They have a knowledge of meds beyond the usual ones prescribed by primary care doctors. Maybe you weren’t told this but Diovan and Valsartan are the same drug. All that your doctor did was reduce your dose by half.



  129. Dr. R says:

    Charmaine. You’re well on your way. Work with your PCP who seems very willing to assist you.

  130. Gracia says:

    hi Doc,
    am 35 year old woman who has given birth 6.5 months ago. 5 days after delivering my baby, my blood pressure shot to 172/106 and after that lingered on 150/100 readings.i had no high BP during pregnancy or before. all my doctors (obgyn and cardiologist) told me it’s just from me being anxious as first time mom, so they did not prescribe me any meds (and told me not to take any readings) until after my son was 4.5 months (note: i am not overweight, and had been limiting my salt intake for the last two years. so they thought it’s pregnancy/postpartum hormones related which raised my blood pressure). when my son was 4.5 months, i took my bp and it has dropped to around 130-140/80-90 readings. since it was borderline hypertension, my cardiologist finally put me on 5mg amlodipine which dropped my bp right away to normal level (110-120/60-80). i was on 5 mg amlo for a month, then reduced to 2.5mg amlo daily up to now (blood pressure remains the same normal level). i am not scheduled for any consultation until February next year, but i feel like am ready to wean off from this meds since i dont like the side effects (nosebleed, rhinitis, oedema, heart palpitations)and am hoping that this bp issues already settled down as it’s been more than 6 months postpartum . that being said, am currently taking my med every two days, and wondering if this is the right method of weaning off. what do you think?

  131. Dr. R says:

    Gracia. It’s probably best to contact the prescribing physician who knows you best for the proper manner to wean off the medication. Often a conversation with the doctor’s assistant is all you’ll need.

  132. Ana C. says:

    Hi Dr. E.

    My name is Ana. Just recently my right eye blood vessel popped. Didn’t think anything of it and just went on may. My supervisor noticed it and stated that I check my blood pressure…It was 179/101. We checked it all day and it kept going up. I went to the doctor and it was as high as 198/102. They put me on Lorastan/Potassium. I have never ever had any issues with blood pressure and know of no one in my family with high blood pressure. I work out…5-6 a week doing Cross Fit and Weights. I have been on this medication for 4 days. I’m not one to take poison…and would prefer I do all natural. What would you suggest I do?

  133. Dr E says:

    Hi Ana
    The burst blood vessel probably is unrelated to your high blood pressure but you should be glad it happened because it alerted you and your doctor that there was a blood pressure issue. Your BP of 198/102 is quite high and you should stay on the medication. After a few weeks of normalizing your blood pressure, your doctor can consider lowering your Losartan dose and perhaps discontinuing it but don’t do anything on your own

  134. Robert Richman says:

    Idont recall whether I took my a.m. dose both hydrochlorathorazide + benazeprl. Is better to take it and risk having taken it twice or just skip one day without either?

  135. Nou Yang says:

    I am 41 years old with high blood pressure. Checked into ER and they prescribed me hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg. Been taking it for about a week now – changed my diet, doing 20-30 mins of exercise per day. And doesn’t seem like the HBP is subsiding. Perhaps there could be an electrolyte imbalance? Maybe it’s a process that takes time? This is my first time on this medication…if you can shed any light please let me know.

  136. Dr E says:

    Hi Nou
    Hydrochlorthiazide sometimes takes 2-3 weeks to work so for the time being just be patient. Reduce your salt, continue exercising

  137. Dr E says:

    Hi Robert
    This happens to everyone. Just skip today and restart tomorrow

  138. jim says:

    I was under alot of stress and felt dizzy and frazzled. went to my doctor and bp 140/100. he put me on 75mg of ibersartan. went to cardio doctor 4 days later and bp was 130 /75. i have been taking for 1 and 1/2 months. feel dizzy and cant focus eyes on and of. take blood pressure at home. it is usually around 120/80 . sometimes lower and sometimes slightly higher. i have not been able to do exercises due to a recent hernia repair. when can i start to come off of medication

  139. Dr E says:

    Hi Jim
    Since your blood pressure was high when you were under stress, if you are coming up with strategies to reduce stress it would seem reasonable to start lowering your dose and even discontinuing it over the next few days. You need to work with your primary care doc or your cardiologist about this

  140. marc johnn says:

    DR….what you say makes a lot of sense. I usually suffer with white coat hypertension.when i take my own blood pressure i have very nice BP.
    At a certain doctors visit i was given Lisinopril and amlodipine.i had side effects and almost blacked out.that increased my anxiety and i had to start exercising to get rid of the anxiety.
    i really appreciate your comments.I hope to buy a Resperate
    best regards

  141. Cindy says:

    Hello David!
    Thank you very much for your article! If HCTZ is required, do you recommend taking it once per day or 12.5 mg twice per day? Do you recommend taking it at a certain time of day?

  142. Dr E says:

    Hi Cindy
    Once a day in the AM on the HCTZ is fine. Remember it is a diuretic and if you take it in the evening, you really don’t want to be getting up to pee

  143. Alex says:

    Hi Dr E

    I started BP medication at 23 and have been on it for almost 3 years now. At 22 I found out I have an irregular EKG that signaled I might have LVH. Did the full cardiologist experience (twice) and they could not find anything except that my blood pressure swings abnormally high every now and again 160/90. In fact during the stress test I did so well they said I was in the 99th percentile! I’m in very good shape not overweight but I don’t watch my diet as much as I should. Anything I can do or loook up to see if I can wean myself off this lisinopril 20mg?

  144. Dr E says:

    Hi Alex
    High blood pressure in young people is not common but can occur if it runs in your family. Years and years of poorly controlled high blood pressure definitely gives you risks for heart and kidney disease and strokes. Since Lisinopril for most people has virtually zero side effects, if I were you, I’d bite the bullet and just take the med. Your good work at maintaining excellent health PLUS your well controlled blood pressure will likely allow you to enjoy your nineties

  145. Thusitha Jayasundera says:

    Dear David, thank you for this helpful article. I am a slim reasonably fit 46 yr Old woman and was recently diagnosed with stress enhanced high blood pressure- which was in excess of 150/100 I am currently on 2.50 mg of ramipril. What I have found is that my systolic pressure responds quickly to meds where as the diastolic reading is far more stubborn. Does this point to anything particular? So far, my ECG and blood tests appear all clear. Desperate to be off the bp meds if possible as I find the side effects debilitating.

  146. Dr E says:

    Hi Thusitha
    The high blood pressure likely runs in your family. Have you tried a low salt diet and biofeedback? The machine is called Resperate and available online

  147. Ann Theresa says:

    I am a 60 yr old former surgical tech…am not on any meds…until last week…I participated in a 24 hour RockaThon supervising teens …got very tired…not 16 anymore…the next day I had phlegm in my throat…I was up clearing my throat all night so I took a musinex, against my better judgement…BP skyrocketed to 175/115…went to ER…no flu, no pneumonia, no blood clots in the lungs, no enlarged heart, EKG fine, slightly low O2…treated with Nitro and put on Metropolol and Lisinopril…now I feel very tired, no energy, BP ok, but goes very low sometimes…87/55…my BP before was not high….usually around 116/75…I HATE medicine and want off…I have only been on these for less than a week, and if I didn’t take that stupid musinex this never would have happened…I want to start reducing my dosage before it really gets into my system and it would be harder to do…I don’t want to wait for 2 more weeks before I see the cardiologist…I am thinking of reducing my dosage in half for the next few days and monitoring it…to half it again for a few more days, to be totally off…any concerns?

  148. Wayne Harvey says:

    Hi Dr E. Great article. I’m 56 years old, weigh 177 lbs. I don’t smoke, don’t drink & have never had a heart attack. This past July, heart palpitations and BP issues came out of no where. Couple of emergency room visits. Currently on 10 mg Lisinopril, once daily & Metoprolol, 12.5 mg daily. Tri as to wean myself off and everything went haywire. I want off this crap altogether because I know for a fact it will cause other diseases, namely cancer. Any suggestions please.

  149. Steve says:

    I am a 65 year old retired male on 3 meds for hypertension:
    25 m.g. chlorthalidone
    100 m.g. losartan
    10 m.g. amlodipine
    On my meds my BP at the doctor’s office would be around 116/70.
    I recently lost 25 pounds and in checking my BP at home it is consistently in the 105/64 range but there have been times in has run as low as 92/56 and even after an hour long walk only raised to 101/57.
    My question, which I’ve had a terrible time getting answered, is do hypertension meds continue to lower BP even when it is normal without meds?

  150. cliffmaurer says:

    Hi Ann – any medication changes should be done with the supervision of the prescribing physician. It’s impossible to give prescription advice over the internet since knowing your medical history and you as a patient is critical to making these decisions. Please speak with your doctor before making changes.
    Dr M

  151. cliffmaurer says:

    Hi Wayne – Any medication changes should involve the prescribing doctor or a new doctor with whom you choose to work. If you’re if the Chicago area, any of our physicians or nurse practitioner would be happy to meet with you. If you’re not in the area, google the Institute for Functional Medicine to find like-minded clinicians.

    Dr M

  152. cliffmaurer says:

    HI Steve – for the most part, when you stop taking a medication for hypertension, the hypertension returns. If you’re in the Chicago area, any of our physicians or our nurse practitioner would be happy to explore other options with you. This website can be a helpful tool too if you’re looking for a different approach, google the Institute for Functional Medicine to find like-minded clinicians.
    Dr M

  153. Susan Thomas says:

    Dr E,
    I read with great interest read article, and I too am a big believer that “reduce the number, add a patient “ I am a 65 yr old woman, 5’10,179 lbs. I have recently been diagnosed with HBP I the doctors office rising BP 190/95 and have been given daily Coversyl HD Plus 8mg and have been taking for the past 30 days. I have also been taking Thyroid ERFA 60 mg for the past 15 yrs or so, due to a partial thyroidectomy. Also I take 200mg mag morning and night, estrodial 10up, 200 mg prometrium.
    The problems mornings BP is low 111/90 and then can go up to 150/85 before bed, but then somedays I’ll feel totally normal and my BP is 138/80 with no symptoms and then at other times of the day i experience unpleasant racing heart and anxiety.
    I’ve been working with a resonate breathing app which is helping with the anxiousness. And my sleep patterns have changed, where I sleep soundly for 4 hrs and then I’m awake for 2 hrs, and repeat sleep for3 or 4 hrs. This is new to me. I would like to wean myself off the Coversyl (hopefully, with my docs blessing) and boost my Thyroidmed to 75 mg (which I was on that dosage for 15 yrs) but dropped to60 mg due to the high BP. Do you have any suggestions for me?

  154. Dr E says:

    Hi Susan
    Your doctor started you on the highest dose of Coversyl HD. I think that between the Resperate and you following a low salt diet (Google: DASH diet), he can start reducing the strength of your med and maybe one day getting you off it altogether

  155. Denis Drew says:

    Susan and Dr. E

    Thought you both might get a kick knowing that before electric light sleeping four hours, waking two, then sleeping four more was our (DNA) norm. Goggle numerous links. 😉

    Great blog doc; must be or I wouldn’t have read whole thing.

  156. Matthew says:

    Hi Doctor Edelberg, thanks for the all the good work you’re doing. In January 2018, I was hospitalized with a blood pressure of 150/80 and the doctor said I need to take statin to drive down my cholesterol which baffled because I never had high blood pressure before. The doctor told me I have to use hypertensive drugs for life just like that, recently I went out of curiosity I went for an ecg pre and post and I was told that I was not hypertensive and why was I hurriedly considered as hypertensive and placed on drugs for life. My Pharmacist had advised me to tapper off and wean myself off the hypertensive drug. Please advice. Thanks

  157. Phyllis says:

    Thank you for your advice and knowledge. I have been reading all the comments. I’m a teacher and in a highly stressful situation with the worst classroom I’ve ever had. My blood pressure has gone from normal to 173 over 98 sometimes bottom number up 104. I do not want to be on meds, so I’ve been reading your health tips.

  158. Dr E says:

    Hi Mathhew
    I am inclined to agree with your pharmacist. Taper the med but as you are doing so take your blood pressure at home every day at about the same time (late afternoon/evening). If blood pressure begins to rise then you may need the med. If it stays low even after 2-3 weeks off meds then probably not

  159. Mariglyn says:

    Finally someone has the courage to report the facts about the deleterious affects of power that big Pharma has over hundreds of millions of people.
    I was put on Atenolol 15 years ago for a BP that would get up to 130/80… suffered from it.
    Finally was changed to lisinopril.. more side affects… after doing my own research from credible sources I realized I never did have a physiological need for antihypertensive meds.
    I gradually weaned myself off ( I’m NOT recommending this to others,) by taking Arginine and Choline. My BP well in normal range for my age, ranges between 118/76 to 130/80.

  160. Michael Yeater says:

    I am 71 years old,& a male. I am taking lotarson potassium 100mg. If I take the full dosage I feel weak & get dizzy. If I take one half a dose blood pressure is 146 to 155 over 90. I’m In contradiction as what to do.

  161. Dr E says:

    Hi Michael
    I would take the half dose and check your BP around your home. Generally people run lower on their own turf. Do you want to spend the next 30 years (assuming you’ll live to 101) feeling weak and dizzy every day?

  162. Barbara says:

    i believe in alternative medicine. I was put on Irbesartan 300 mg for about 2 years and i wanted to get off it.My Doctor could not believe that he had put me on that high dose. I told him to cut my dose and he did not give me a answer so i took my self off without weaning off and put myself on natural blood pressure pill. that was 4 weeks ago. I am afraid to check my pressure. any suggestion what to do now.

  163. Dr. R says:

    Barbara. Have your blood pressure checked and have a “heart-to-heart” with your primary care physician regarding medication. Do it soon.

  164. Betty Spencer says:

    I have been on 1/2 of 2.5mg. amlodipine for 31/2 months and still feel fatigued!

  165. Kathy Martin says:

    I am a 62 yo female. I’ve been on Lisinopril 10mg for 18 years. I recently was given the ok to cut it in half. After 3 months my BP was still running low around 96/60, so I decided to try going without. I should mention I’ve also recently lost 15 lbs and started walking 30 min everyday. It’s been 1 week and I’m running around 112/68 average. Should I expect maybe a further upward trend since it’s only been a week?

  166. Dr. R says:

    Kathy Martin. Speak with your prescribing primary care physician and continue to monitor your blood pressure. The small life style changes may have made the difference.

  167. JAMES BROWN says:

    My doctor has me taking 2 Furosemide 40 mg n morning and 1 at noon, carvedilol 6.25 mg twice daily and Amlodipine 10 mg twice daily. I have swelling n my legs and painful. Why Isn’t my blood pressure in the normal range. This morning 155/77 n both arms

  168. Dr E says:

    Hi James
    Is the 155/77 at home or in the doctor’s office? If in the doctor’s office, take readings at home. It may be lower
    Also 155/77 is certainly not all that bad and there are other meds your doctor could add but he may be satisfied with that reading

  169. nonya says:

    Thank you so much for the information! I have a fairly good BP (about 135-140/85-90) but it can go up to 150/95-100 at the Dr. office. So, of course, since I have a history of heart disease in my family & I’m 65, Dr. said I have to take Lisinopril. Can’t stop coughing! I will do anything to get off this stuff & now I know what to do, thank you!

  170. fran says:

    my ankles will not stop swelling on any off the meds. I am only on 25mg Losartan and a whole food plant based with no salt, sugar, non smoker, occassional drinker and it gets worse and worse. It even makes my abdomen swell. It is insane. I tried cutting my pills in half and doing 12.5 mg a day and it helps some but not much.. BP crept up when I put on weight, but now my feet and even calves are swelling.

  171. Dr E says:

    Hi Nonya
    The coughing is from the Lisinopril. Tell your doctor so he can change your med to one from a different family

    Hi Fran
    It sounds like you need an increase in your water pill (diuretic) dose. Let your doctor know about the swelling

  172. Elva says:

    thank you for this information it has been a great help every time I was taking a high blood pressure pill it was always run my blood pressure up higher than what it supposed to have been but taken just a simple diabetic Keppra lower so thank you very much for the information

  173. Fletcher Hutcins says:

    Hello Dr. Edelberg, I appreciate the article, as I am having some issue with my blood pressure. The guidelines seem to say anything not or below 120/80 is bad. I currently run 130 something and sometimes 140 something over 70 something. I have a monitor and take my blood pressure every day. I am 60,and I never seem to get into the 120s anymore. I do take natural herbal supplements. I am very active and very good with diet. Are meds necessary for someone who never gets out of the 130s or 140s?

  174. Dr E says:

    Hi Fletcher
    Your numbers are good and I would continue with what you are doing

  175. anthony says:

    hi dr e. i was rushed in the hospital last to weeks because my bp elevated to 180/100 the reason. i was exposed to extreme heat.i dont drink to much water and more coffee. after 3 to 4 hrs at the hospital they send me home and told to do some lab test. they prescribe me with amlopidine 10mg after few days worst side effect i encounter feeling week,palpitation,hotflush leg cramps.dizziness and blurry vision. i try to stop the med couple of days and guess what i feel great. then i go for lab test ecg normal fbs 6.64 creatinine 1.49mg/dl. i go to other dr and they told me to lower the amlopidine to 5mg and they add losartan 50mg.. since i took those med it get worse i feel totally weak and anxious so i go for another dr and she remove the 2 meds and gave me nifedipine mg. i feel a litte better but dizziness and leg cramps occur always. i was not active for the past few months and not on the diet.5’7 185.. my normal bp 135-140/75-90 its my 3rd day with nifedipine and i donk like the side effect as well.. i do the dash diet less salt intake more fruits more water lemon. when i take the med it will go down 120-130/70-85. and when i eat a raw garlic it will go down 115-120/60-75. is it posible to remove the med and continue on the dash diet plus exercise and eat raw garlic since it lower the pressure and planning to add apple cider vinegar it the diet plan. i dont want to be dependent on meds pls help me

  176. Emily R says:

    Dr. E-

    I am a 42 yr old female who has been taking 5mg of Bystolic for around 8 yrs. Through weight loss and dietary changes, my BP has been running around 108/70 and my GP told me if it continues, we will cut my dose in half at my next appointment. I am excited and terrified at the same time after reading tapering horror stories. In retrospect, my previous GP was probably quick to put me on a BB when I only presented with hypertension. Do you think I should taper off completely and look at another class of drugs or just taper to half and hopefully get off drugs completely as I continue to lose weight? Also, will taking magnesium when I cut the dose help? Thank you so much.

  177. Dr E says:

    Hi Emily
    Sounds like your GP is on the right track, tapering your Bystolic and then likely discontinuing it. You probably don’t need it

  178. anthony says:

    good day dr E. i was rushed in the hospital last to weeks because my bp elevated to 180/100 the reason. i was exposed to extreme heat.i dont drink to much water and more coffee. after 3 to 4 hrs at the hospital they send me home and told to do some lab test. they prescribe me with amlopidine 10mg after few days worst side effect i encounter feeling weak,palpitation,hotflush leg cramps.dizziness and blurry vision i cant even walk properly. i try to stop the med couple of days and guess what i feel great! then i go for lab test ecg normal fbs 6.64 creatinine 1.49mg/dl. i go to a new dr and they told me to lower the amlopidine to 5mg and they add losartan 50mg.. since i took those med it get worse i feel totally weak and anxious.. so i go for another new dr and she remove the 2 meds and gave me nifedipine 5 mg only.. i feel a litte better but dizziness and leg cramps occur always. i was not active for the past few months and not on the diet.5’7 185.. my normal bp 135-140/75-90 when no meds.. its my 3rd day with nifedipine and i dont like the side effect as well..!Now im doing the dash diet less salt intake more fruits more water.. i Remove my meds 4 days ago and i feel fine just a little dizzy and weak but not as worse as im taking those meds.. i doing exercise daily from my weight is down by 7. may normal bp now wil range to 115-130/70-85. i eat raw garlic daily i wonder if i continue doing like this it will be normal i followed the dash diet. how can i remove the lightheadedness and dizziness and little weak is it the side effect of the meds or the side effect of the diet?im 35 by the way now on a diet and brisk walking how long will the meds out of my system?

  179. Pastor Job says:

    Hallo hallo,


    I am a 32 year old male, 72kg heavy.
    I was diagnosed with High blood pressure 7 months ago. I was put on beta blockers, which didn’t work for me. I was therefore put on diuretics for 2 months where my BP started responding very well and got to 105/65. Later, my drugs were changed and was put on Amlosun 5mg for some time. Due to dry cough at night I was redirected into Enalapril 5mg, then Enalapril 2.5mg. From there, I started taking it once after every 2 days for 2 weeks. Then I stopped all the BP medication. Isn’t that amazing.
    Since I was diagnosed with High blood pressure, I stopped taking salt which has sodium chloride.. I now take herbal salt which has potassium/iodine. I also stopped holding grudges inorder to avoid unnecessary anger. I hope you know anger, anxiety and stress are one of the factors which cause many of the health issues.e g if you do something wrong to me now, I will not hold to my fury.. I will talk to you about it and ‘vomit’ all that is in me for relieval then I will greet you and say I have forgiven you. I also developed a way of laughing at people who want to annoy me.. that laughter helps me a lot. Of course, I also exercise..I briskly walk for 30 minutes daily. It’s now 3 weeks since and MY BP IS VERY NORMAL AT LESS THAN 120/80. I am Happy. My message to all of you is that.. There’s always hope at the end of the tunnel.
    Always confess it…

    “Despite all the health conditions surrounding me, I will not die before my time is yet.”

    Some of these conditions come to you so that you can become another person’s encourager..and that’s why I am encouraging you.. Take heart and know that you are not alone. Remember that many people are suffering the same but are afraid to come out in public and talk about it. If I overcame, You too will overcome. Feel hopeful.

  180. Bill Wilkie says:

    Something you never read about in the discussion of BP meds is :
    1. Soaking your feet in hot water
    2. Deep breathing
    3. Cayenne pepper and Apple cider Vinegar


    No need for BP meds

  181. R says:

    Hi Doc! I have been on amlodipine for years before, now on lozartan. Bp has mostly been ok, but sometimes not, even at home because of anxiety when using b.p measuring device. Sometimes initial measurement will be high, but 2nd and 3rd try will be low. Again most probably because of anxiety. Well, I actually have anxiety disorder. Trying therapy, meditations now. I’m 40 years male BTW. Just recently though, I have this spells where I could feel pressure going up from the back of my neck to my head, I’ll be dizzy, and feel like fainting, have to hold on to something. 2 times it happened already since my last anxiety attack last Nov. 2017 and since I started with Losartan 50mg. I thought I was gonna faint or was having a stroke. Oh, I also would have some dizzy spells from sitting to standing before. One time I measured my bp when I rose dizzy from my bed, and my bp was only 90/60. So it’s hypotension right? Again, I started feeling that with I’m kinda new with Losartan. After a few weeks to now, it lessened though, and almost doesn’t happen already. It’s just this rising head pressure and feeling faiting that happened again tonight.

    Question is, am I still having side effects of the losartan drug, hypotension? Is the feeling of faint and rising pressure to my head a headrush, or hypotension also? Or is it just because of my anxiety issues? Gonna go to my doctor again tommorow actually to tell him about the rising head pressure, dizziness.

    Hope to hear from you good doctor. 🙂

  182. Dr E says:

    Hi R

    Generally side effects from blood pressure meds are gone in a few days so if you are still feeling the hypotension symptoms, your doc will need to look for other causes (like anemia, for example)

  183. Maureen Fisher says:

    Dr. Edelberg, you impressed me!

  184. Val Dotson says:

    Dr. E. Trying to wean off of Losartan. Been on 100mg HCTZ for about a year. We need down to 1/2 of a pill on my own. Everytime I try to come totally off blood pressure spikes 180/116 or more and heart races uncontrollably. What can I do? Please help

  185. Stephen says:

    I thank you for this information, I have been seeking info on what is considered high blood pressure and how do they determine it, and you have enlighten me and educated me with this article and I and on a journey to free my mine and body of this toxic belief and I am seeking the right way to accomplish it. Thank u very much for this informative passage to true health. I all felt that the power that be ( big companies and money) was the motivation and not my health which is really sad and tragic.

  186. Dr E says:

    Hi Val
    With numbers like yours, Val, I’m afraid you will need to remain on blood pressure meds. Sorry, but it would be dangerous try to otherwise

  187. Nancy L. Bisset says:

    To have hernia surgery 2015 I was told NO must be lowered. [No BP or strokes in family until my mommy handed out the lysinapeil which is when her short term [Very bright vitiman taker for 41yrs] down hill sparil began.

    I was on a white pill of this med yrs ago, had severe dry cough and several other. They changed to others all bad side effects so weaned off

    Before 2015 surgery I did not have names of bad Meds should be in medical file.

    This time a pink pill for lysinapeil. Hard to regulate… my BP always nutty.




    I AM WEANING OFF THIS DANG drug. Keeping journal.

    No other meds. My mommy [and step daddy] were taken off their vits. And both died with BP/ Diabetic drug, cholesterol med etc. Dr made them rx pill junkies. [I picked up mommies BP[always healthy before drugs] it was same one I was given.

    I want off all NO meds and Dr to stop pushing them on me. Anger fills me… I meditate. Trying to walk and pedal my instride cycle. Wish me luck as I wean off this scary med once again. Liv-vid when I found that old rx of same pill i took yrs yrs ago.

    TY for this article. Bless you. Nancy L. Bisset

  188. Ken jaeger says:


  189. Dr E says:

    Hi Ken
    Good news: yes, your blood pressure is at a normal level

    Bad news: it might be at that level because of your meds and if you stop them, your blood pressure might rise to high levels.

    If you want to go off (or at least reduce) your meds, you’ll need to discuss this with your doctor

  190. Marlene Forster says:

    Thank you. Just as I thought my blood pressure started at 130/70 and that was considered high. I have had bad effects from amlodipine, lisinopril, Cartia. Feel worse on those than I did off them. I lost weight a lot of it, eat fairly right, reduced salt intake. I was put on statin drug even though I didn’t need it at all was told I needed it for my diabetes. I thought doctors were supposed to make us feel better not worse. I would love to get off all my meds, but MD won’t hear of it. I just didn’t have the symptoms of diabetes, I went to urgent care over an infected foot. MD took a look from the door and told me I was diabetic could the osteomyelitis threw everything out of whack? I was in urgent care ate a huge ham sandwich, drank 20 oz. coke, and 12 oz. cranberry juice 15 minutes prior to my appointment in urgent care. Took blood sugar and told me to go to the emergency room and had me drive there not telling me my blood sugar was 813. Should I not have had symptoms if it was this high? Please respond and thank you Marlene

  191. Shane says:

    Thank you

  192. Dr E says:

    Hi Marlene
    Even though your blood sugar was 813, you actually might not feel that. At any rate, you are certainly a diabetic and need to be on meds. From your quite honest description of your incredibly unhealthy eating habits, you’ll likely need to be on meds for the rest of your life.
    Sorry to give you this news but unless you make significant and permanent changes in your lifestyle, there’s not a lot to do except keep taking meds as your doctor prescribes them

  193. Hefina says:

    Excellent reading,thank you David, I just shown this article to my husband his comment was,That he has been saying what you have written all along.
    He tried to save this article but failed , I do though have your web site to fall back on to,
    We both have been on Avapro for over ten years, and whenever we go to the Dr it’s pretty high,
    We do have a BP monitor (arm ) and I was taking record in my diary for my GP, I also had a BP monitor for 24 hrs it came back ok.
    Mine today was 148/75 , sometimes it’s higher sometimes lower.

    I am also on Cartia 100mg once a day for Blood thinning,
    I had a PE 9 months ago ,after being put on Xarelto they have now gone,
    I am 78 and my husband 79 , that is why I am on this low dose aspirin.
    Is it safe to take 300mg of Non diuretic Avapro taken after dinner,?
    because I was light headed, and I take Cartia in the morning ,
    My husband is a retired scientist by the way ,
    I still say I’m having side effects from taking Avapro and

    We would appreciate your input on our situation.
    I’m over weight , and my husband has lost weight and he is now 103 kilos still the fig stay the same,
    My main fear is if I come off either of them I might get more clots,
    His BP is lower than mine but not too lo

  194. Dr E says:

    Hi Helina
    Your blood pressure is so perfect that I’d be reluctant to discontinue meds. If however you are experiencing lightheadedness, this might mean your dose is too high and he could lower it.
    The fact that you are overweight and have had clots in the past means that if you stop the anti clot med, you could get another clot, so stay on it

  195. Gabby Peacock says:

    I have been eating healthier and exercising lately. I dice a cup of celery and eat it almost daily. This appears to bring down my blood pressure? Am I imagining this?

  196. Dr. R says:

    Hi Gabby. It is well documented that lifestyle changes often help stabilize and lower blood pressure. Good work!

  197. Joanne Chapman says:

    You described exactly what happened to me and now I am miserably stuck.My systolic B/P was consistently in the 120/70 range. When I would go to the Dr. it would be up into the 130 to 140range. Dr. told me the normal had changed and he put me on exforge 5/320. From feeling great to feeling miserable. This was 6 or so years ago. A couple of weeks ago I got a new Dr. I talked him into taking away the Amlodipine.I hoped this would reduce the swelling in my feet and lower legs and take away my 24/07 dizziness. Not so.
    I pray that before much longer SOMEONE will tell me how to wean off the VALSARTAN. Valsartan and furosemide are the only 2 drugs I am on now. It seems that once you get hooked there is no hope. When the Dr. told me the B/P limit had been changed I told him they just wanted more patients taking their pills and taking them forever.
    Joanne Chapman, Snookered

  198. Dr E says:

    Hi Joanne
    You’re too passive in all this.
    Just tell the new doc exactly what you want to do. If he says something dumb like “I’m the doctor!” just tell him that he’s right but as a doctor he shouldn’t be prescribing meds that make his patients more ill than when they arrived

  199. Juliette Padron says:

    Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I implement a fragment of your post to my website?

  200. Dr. R says:

    Hi Juliette. Sure but please give us credit for the information and/or a link to the original post.

  201. WHIL says:


  202. Steve Norris says:

    Thanks. I suspected this and have recently weaned myself off Losartan 100mg to 50mg to 25mg and now zero dosage. I am 71 and very active with exercise most days. Present BP avg. 136/74 and bpm 68.

  203. Dr E says:

    Dear WHIL
    The in-hospital low BP may be due to the anemia and/or simply being in bed. If it remains as low as you are saying once your blood count is back to normal AND you’re up and about, then you may not need a BP med

  204. Rick says:

    Hi Dr. E, thank you for helping so many patients out with your advice. I always had excellent blood pressure, work out a lot and watch what I eat. About 5 years ago I was put on testosterone (test had me at under 200) 100mg 2x/week and about a year ago I was put on dextroamphetamine for ADD (5mg/day but I only take half of that). Since then my blood pressure has creeped up to about 140/95, although that was only sporadic and other times it could be almost normal, I take my blood pressure most days and record it on my phone. It was always elevated at the Dr. office, sometimes 150/100, but in looking back at my BP readings at home it only does this at the Dr. office.

    My first step was to try Guanfacine ER 1mg, which I had read used to be used for blood pressure and also had a good effect on the ADD, my intentions were to lower my BP and help wean me off the dextroamphetamine. The Guanfacine by itself helped a little, probably brought me down to 135/90 or so, but once again sporadic and some days it would be much lower and almost normal.

    Went to my PCP for my physical, bloodwork perfect, EKG perfect, no issues otherwise. She put me on Amlodipine 5mg, after about a month I didn’t see much of a change. She now wants to add HCTZ 12.5mg and she is pushing hard to get it closer to 120/80.

    Here is my issue, FATIGUE!! Since starting the Guanfacine, and worse with the Amlodipine I feel tired all the time, just like a deep weary ache in my muscles/bones and I find it difficult to even mow the lawn. I used to be very much into weight lifting and running and even remodeled my basement to have a weightroom and a nice treadmill, but I find I’m too fatigued to work out at all. It seems counter productive on some level to stop working out in order to take the meds. I haven’t even started the HCTZ because I’ve read so much about blood sugar/diabetes and other ill effects.

    I do take some natural stuff. Fish oil every day, magnesium glycinate 400mg 2x/day, potassium gluconate, I also try and manage my stress but that may be a factor.

    So I had 2 questions. 1) Is there any BP medication that does not cause fatigue? If not, is there one that has the least amount of causing fatigue? I did try lisinopril and losartan a few years ago, they both made me tired as well. 2) If I just got off all the BP meds and lived with my 140/90 BP is that advisable? I read a lot of studies and the new guidelines pushing for 120/80 and just read new research this week saying lowering BP was the only thing you could do to lower risk of dementia.

    I’m about ready to quit all the BP meds as I feel I’d rather die early than live like a zombie, of course I would do it with my PCP knowing.

  205. Dr E says:

    Hi Rick
    Actually, the one with the least fatigue is the HCTZ and the blood sugar issue is relatively uncommon
    You can take 25 mg of that plus an Ayurvedic herbal combination called Cardiotone (one cap twice a day).
    Just about all the rest do cause fatigue
    Also: take your BP at home rather than having taken at your doc’s office. The one at home is the “real” you

  206. Charlotte says:

    My 78-yr old mother has been on Hydrochlorothiazide, Ibersartan, Amlopidine and Metoprolol for approxmiately 15 years — along with 2 antcoagulants and 2 cholesterol meds. I did not realize she was on so many meds until recently due to her horrible discomfort, extreme difficulty breathing, sudden deafness, kidney failure, etc. So I am trying to help her taper off and remove some of her meds as her blood pressure is actually quite low — averaging between 115/55-125/60 over the past few weeks. We started by removing one of her antidepressants Wellbutrin (no idea why her docs gave her those many years ago as one of its many side effects are hypertension). After 4 days of herring off those meds, her blood pressure plummeted to 85/35 and has been very low since. Her doctor recommended removing hydrochlorothiazide first altogether, and reducing er Amlodopine by half. When I give her all of her meds as scheduled, her BP is still very low, ranging between 100/45 to 115/55. My question is, which medicine do you think would be the safest to remove or taper next? I would really like to get her off of al of those meds but she has a couple of stents put in about 10 years ago and she sometimes gets chest pains (although I wonder if those are caused by her many meds or maybe are digestive).

  207. Diane Thielker says:

    I was on 12.5 mg of atenolol per day and weaned off of it July 2017 and started taking hawthorne berry . So now it’s one year later and my blood pressure is perfect and my cholesterol is way down. Hmmmm.

  208. Marye Grace says:

    I’m a 57 yr old female 170, 5’7. BP 120/85. I’ve been on Diovan (just recalled the maker I was prescribed), which btw the pharmacy nor my doctor called me to let me know of the recall. Went to 3 mo. Check up and was told then, little less than a month after the recall. Been using since it came released to public. BP meds about 10ys. Dr. Said, let’s take you off see what happens. 3 days later bp 118/84 average. I have had loads of side effects. I was on water pills too but a year ago I stopped myself side effects. BP didn’t change (was still on bp meds though.)

    So… I have taken pills about 10 years and 5 of those years on something that in the pill that was recalled causes cancer, heck.. they use one ingredient in diovan (not all just the one Krogers use as a supplier)on mice to cause then cancer so they can cure them.

    Why… maybe that is just my blood pressure “normal” level. Now I have the worry of cancer and liver damage and more.

    I sure wish I had a second chance and had read this article.

  209. Kim says:

    Eureka!!! Besides being a new study (youtube) with Dr. John Bergman in California, I do believe that I’ve hit a jackpot of sorts clicking on to this site! Yayyy! I reluctantly began taking 2.5 mg. Lisinopril per order of my new doctor. My previous doctor also was heading me in that direction. I think that I could get off of this if I could really buckle down, eat well, sleep better reduce my stressors and pick up on some exercise! I HATE the side effects of this drug! Even though it is a low dosage, I am highly sensitive to lots of things, stressors, chemicals, odors, smoke, allergens, blah blah blah! The first time I took the pill, I had the sensation that my blood was draining through my veins, more specifically my legs. It was an odd sensation. I called the doctor’s office and they were not phased and did not return my call even. I continued the pills and started to develop the cough that many seem to mention. I liken the ‘cough’ to a choking of sorts. It can come at any time of the day or night, although I take the pill around 11 AM daily. I am currently devising a plan to get the heck off of these dastardly pills. I have seen many a senior follow down the path of medication after medication. I do not want to travel that same path. I don’t understand how doctors can prescribe these medications when they have not even spent a 24 hour period with me, monitoring my blood pressure hour by hour! The doctor does not know me, but that my biological father died of a massive heart attack at 64. He told me once that he was on high blood pressure meds, but I am not certain that he lived a super healthy lifestyle, alcohol, smoking, and who knows what else. His mother also died of congestive heart failure. My biological mother, on the other hand, is 76, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke and has ‘never’ been on a medication! I am holding out against hope that I can make a significant change in my lifestyle. I Hate the pills, and want O-U-T!!! I cannot wait to read this whole page and all of the comments. Thank you!!!

  210. Kim says:

    Oh my! I cannot believe that I forgot to mention, that I also feel winded intermittently, all day! I’ve noticed I am also losing more hair than I normally do, have developed prominent, deep circles under my eyes, and I feel as if I’ve aged even more so, since the inception of these pills, June 13th, 2018. I am also a bit more tired and notice that my adrenaline that used to kick my day off, is pretty much non-existent! I’ve purchased an at-home blood pressure monitoring machine. I have got to get on the stick, make the time to do this. I have got my work cut out for me!!! I do NOT want to become a medication machine! What a way to go!!!!

  211. Strahin says:

    Thank you for the good data on this vital and timely subject!

  212. Kim says:

    I have been taking valsartan for 3 years 160 mg. Doctor told me 1 week ago about the recall and switched me to some other bp medicine that is on back order. I started taking coq10 about a month ago. My bp was lower than it has ever been. 110/70. When the dr told me about valsartan I stopped taking it(risky I know). I take 1 coq10 with every meal now and bp is 120/82. I feel better now but I did have a really rough week coming off the valsartan. I am not a doctor and I don’t recommend coming off your medicine without a doctors help. I was just fed up and took my chances. I hope my bp continues on this path of being somewhat under control now as I will be adding more natural supplements as I go along. Celery juice is great too for lowering bp as well as deep slow breathing. Thanks for all the help on this site and I wish everyone good health!!

  213. Norah Wilson says:

    Thank you! I’m 66, mother of 9 and life long drug free; my BP is 130/80! I feel good and just love life eatting vegetables, fruits and some meats, buti enjoyed reading your comments about how the Doctors put everyone on pills that open their mouths.i had all my babies natural too, and nursed them! My husband takes BP pills, asprin for heart, cholesterol pill and vitamins and constipation liquids etc..and last month his Dr. Told my husband he was “TERMINAL”…nocure and no treatment for his MCLD METASTASES!…so now, his BP has been very unstable from 167/93 to as low as 103/67 and I would assume this is pre-dying stage. I would like your comments on this!
    Thank you Dr. Edelberg!

  214. Dr E says:

    Hi Norah
    Sorry about your husband’s illness. Blood pressure swings are common and it is unlikely he needs his BP meds
    Dr E

  215. Pauline Burrows says:

    I have just been prescribed cilazaphil 0.5mg..I don’t feel that great since commencing this medication. .I am fit..eat pretty well. weigh 126lb ..9stone
    Don’t drink ..maybe the odd Lager every so often
    I don’t want to be on this medication!!😈
    .pretty active 72yr old..

  216. Dr E says:

    Hi Pauline
    Cilazipril is a blood pressure med not sold in the U.S. but it certainly has a lot of unpleasant side effects (cough, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting).
    I think you have a serious talk with your GP just why you need to be on this. If there is, maybe he could find something a bit gentler

  217. Michael says:

    I take all
    Cold turkey ?

  218. carl says:

    my dr has me on 40 mg per day of minoxidil plus 20 mg per day of bystolic. i,m 64 years old, my bp stays at about 140/78 on the drugs. i am tired nauseous and mind cloudy!

  219. Dr E says:

    Hi Carl
    Yours is a tough case. Apparently you’ve been stuck with seriously high blood pressure that doesn’t budge with the gentler meds. Sometimes a side effect is caused by one, rather than several meds. I suggest talking with your doctor about what adjustments might be made to lessen these.
    Also, if you have a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner in your area, sometimes a combination of herbs and acupuncture will bring down your BP just enough that your doses of conventional meds can be adjusted downward

  220. Don says:

    My GP put me on BP pills and I took them for 2+ years. I have had symptoms only since I started taking them and my BP is never regulated even with my DR changing the meds here and there.
    I finally went to see a cardiologist who was shocked that I was ever put on the meds anyway. His advice along with another cardiologist was to get off of the meds and “Clean my system out”

    Does being prescribed the wrong medication for something that never existed in the first place cause your body any lasting harm? I am not over weight, I’ve always had a very good diet and I have been working out since I was 16. I am 48 now. I have stopped taking any meds and I still just don’t feel right anymore. I feel all of the symptoms of having hypertension and my BP fluxuates, sometimes its a little high but often times it is just fine. Could my “not furling right” be from having taken the BP meds for the last 2 + years?

  221. Dr E says:

    Hi Don

    Sometimes it takes a while for the body to readjust being without a med but from my experience with patients who go off meds, this shouldn’t be a lasting effect for you

  222. Calvin Hadley says:

    my blood pressure was never above 150 90 was always around 140 80 and most of the time the high one was in the 120’s, my cholesterol was low as well, but i still had a heart attack in which 3 stents were placed, they put me on cholesterol lowering Meds and blood pressure meds, i do not smoke, drink alcohol, or coffee, i work out 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes, i am 63 years old, i know i have to be on all these meds for 1 year because the stents need to mend to my artery, i am 6 foot tall and weigh 170 pounds, my question. since i have had a heart attack if i stuck to a good diet and continued to work out can i get off meds?

  223. Dr E says:

    Hi Calvin
    Obviously having the stents opens up your coronary arteries but it’s well known you’re still at a higher risk for developing additional obstructions than the general population. It has been shown that taking statins and BP meds actually reduces this risk and now with you doing all the good lifestyle stuff, you’re reducing your risk even more. In other words, in your particular situation, I’d recommend staying on the meds

  224. Paul says:

    Hi, I am a 46 year old male and have lost 9 belt notches on a KETO diet over the past 4 years. After having suspected adrenal cancer which confounded the endo I Switched to keto against advice and symptoms and diagnosis went away. All my blood work is pretty good except high cortisol and adrenaline. My triglycerides are 1 . A1C 5.4 Recently lost more weight by reducing alcohol and increased exercise. Have been on coveram 5/5 for four years since adrenal issues. A recent 24 hours BP monitor came back with average of 133/76 with high reading of 149/92 while out walking and low of 114/52 sleeping. Have had fatigue and fluid in feet, pins and needles, cold feet which are normally always very warm over past 5 weeks. Have switched to coversyl 5 and second day in have a persistent mild background headache and lethargic. Always suffer white coat fever. Never get headaches or sick on the keto diet unless I eat high carb meals and drink beer which is very rare due to the effects. Still carrying more weight than I would like but down dramatically from 4 years ago. I would like to get off the meds, they are a constant drain on me I feel at the moment. Any direction would be appreciated.

  225. Dr E says:

    Hi Paul
    You sound like an internist’s ideal patient. I would suggest you talk to your doctor about going off the BP med and agreeing to send him blood pressure readings taken over a couple of weeks. If your blood pressure stays down off meds I am sure he’ll say that your good work has paid off

  226. Lynn L says:

    My question is about whether I need to change my diet now that I have been prescribed triamterene/hctz. The warnings make me worry about too much potassium. I have always eaten very healthy foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, that are relatively high in potassium. Do I have to worry about eating these healthy foods if I’m on this medication? Or is it only worrisome to take a potassium supplement?

  227. Dr E says:

    Hi Lynn
    Only worrisome if you take a potassium supplement

  228. Paul says:

    Hi DrE, thanks for your previous comments. In your opinion how long does it take for the fatigue,fluid, swelling etc to go away after stopping the BP meds. Is there a worst case and best case scenario? Really looking forward to feeling normal again. Thanks Paul

  229. Dr. R says:

    Hi Paul. Everyone is unique. Make certain you make all the life style changes necessary to help your body move through this transition; good sleep, good food, exercise, stress reduction, etc.

  230. Connie Sandbak says:

    I do not have high blood pressure. My doctor and cardiologist put me on high blood pressure medicine (metoproal)because I have an irregular heart beat and they want to slow my heart rate down. This makes no sense to me. My heart would still be irregular only slower. I understand that the concern is pooling of blood and a possible blood clot to cause a stroke. A sonogram showed my heart was in good shape. My valves were strong and in good shape. My heart just had one small corner with some damage. The cardiologist had no explanation for this damage other than wear and tear because of my age. Muscle & energy testing showed that it was from a virus. Now I have been on this metoproal for a couple of months and it is messing with my potassium, calcium and thyroid. How can I stop taking it and take care of what is really causing the EFIB (irregular heart beat)????

  231. Dr E says:

    Hi Connie
    First, let me say that when a doctor reaches a certain age, he begins having the same conditions as his patients.
    I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (the commonest form of an irregular heart beat) a couple of years ago and was advised by a cardiologist (not “my” cardiologist because I didn’t have one at the time) to start two meds: First, a blood thinner because every medical student knows atrial fibrillation increases risk for a stroke, so I had no issue with that. And second, metoprolol, to “control the rate.” He thought that I had had AF for years and just hadn’t noticed it. I had never experienced any issue of rapid heart rate nor do I have high blood pressure. Once I began the metoprolol, I started feeling all the side effects: fatigue, sense of lightheadedness, and generally not great. So I consulted a cardiologist that I’d been referring patients to for years. He told me to taper then stop by metoprolol, check my pulse occasionally and be on the look out for runs of tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Once off the metoprolol, I immediately felt better and two years later, no tachycardia. I do remain on the blood thinner however.
    Medicine hasn’t discovered the cause of atrial fibrillation for most people. Some but certainly a small number, do respond to natural treatments like magnesium, Co Q 10 and the herb hawthorn

  232. Paul Yakaitis says:

    I’m on 20mg lisinopril because my boo fluctuates like 148/100 to 126/90 I took a stress test they found nothing. I work out hard track 40” meters mile speed walk 2 100 TD dashes at 17 secs, then go right to gym doing reps, riding a bike at level 17 for 6 minutes, then backstroke in pool. I want to get off the drug. I do have an ulcer and some digestive problem that has not been diagnosed please advise.


  233. Aly Darling says:

    Thank you for this article. I have been prescribed 3 different medications in the last month to ‘try’ to control my BP. I am a 68 year old woman with no other medical issues, not overweight, not a smoker and a moderate drinker.
    None of the first two medications (Propanolol and then lisinopril ) have been very effective.
    Now my doctor wants me to try Hyzaar. Frankly, I don’t want to try anything else at this point so will try some other lifestyle changes. My average BP before any meds averaged 142/86. The two meds I tried only lowered it to 132/78, which is better but not the ‘goal’ of 120/80.
    I feel like a hamster in a wheel with all this trial and error and have been highly suspicious of the new guidelines that anything over 120/80 is high regardless of age. I am always suspicious of big pharma so your well thought out article above resonates with me. Thank you again.

  234. Dr E says:

    Hi Ally
    I too am suspicious about the “new normals” of blood pressure which actually have come under a lot of criticism. I bet that if you had your own BP apparatus and took your BP at home that after a few days you’d discover your blood pressure was quite good (not that 142/86 is “bad”).
    Show your doc your at home readings off meds and maybe he’ll be less aggressive with his prescription pad

  235. Christina says:

    I have been on a low dose of hctz for years. Over the past two years, lost a significant amount of weight and have been advised to come off of hctz. I first stopped taking it cold turkey and over 7-10 days gained 10 lbs of water weight. I panicked and started taking it again and over 14 days have lost all of the water weight……..how do I dose off of hctz so that I don’t have this kind of rebound edema?

  236. FAYE TINKEL I'M 83. HEALTHY. says:


  237. FAYE TINKEL says:


  238. Rob Sherwood says:

    Lisinopril is evil. I have been on Lisinopril for quite a few years. Last March I started to suffer from dry mouth. At first it was tolerable, but then it got real bad. I stated to do some serious research on dry mouth, and the only cause that fit me was prescription side effects. I am a diabetic, but my sugar levels are mostly in the good range. Nothing else fit the pattern. I do not smoke, do drugs, had cancer therapy, got hit in the head, or had an auto immune disease. The only thing that fit was prescription drug side effects. Now a lot of sites on the web do not list dry mouth as a symptom of lisinopril, but a lot of others do. Even the ones that don’t say it does , say that ACE inhibitors cause dry mouth, and lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor. So in a round about way they are saying it as well. Well in the summer I had a heart attack, so that added a whole new parcel of drugs to my daily routine. Enough is enough. SO I started exercise and diet programs. In the last three four months I have lost thirty pounds, and have cut down the usage of the lisinopril, I went from one a day to one every four days, (no I have not told my doctor yet). I monitor my BP quite closely, and my numbers are quite good. I wish I was never put on this snake poison in the first place. The last six months have been horrible due to the dry mouth. You know what, we can put a man on the moon, we should be able to come up with a medicine that does not cauase dry mouth.

  239. James says:

    Hi guys. I’m a newly diagonised with hyper tension and am 21 yrs old. The last time i checked my bp was 146/93 and i’m still under medication. I’m really afraid of going on with the meds for the rest of my life. please help me reduce it to the normal rate.

  240. Dr. R says:

    Hi James. You might start with a consult with your primary care physician letting her (him) know that you want to get off the medication. In addition, begin following the recommendations in the health tip; diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, etc. A generally healthy 21 year old, should be able to reduce blood pressure with life style changes. Also, begin taking your blood pressure at home on a regular basis rather than relying only on the readings taken at your doctor’s office.

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The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

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Upcoming Workshops

***WholeHealth for Winter Digestion
Saturday December 1, 2018, 10:30am-12:30pm
An Integrative Workshop with Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo, Dietitian Olivia Wagner, and Occupational Therapist Valarie McConville
Fee: $75.00 (includes take home materials and snacks)

Do you suffer from a sluggish digestive system, constipation, and/or bloating? Does it feel like those symptoms get worse as we head toward the holidays and winter season?  Are you looking for ways to optimize your digestion?  

Join us for two valuable hours of digestive health and cleansing!

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700


***Healing Touch for Focus, Creativity, and Stress Management
Thursday, December 6, 2018, 5:45-7:30
Katie Oberlin, HTCP/I
Healing Touch Certified Practitioner/Instructor
Fee: $55.00 (includes take-home materials)

Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed at the end of the year? Want to find a way to feel less scattered and more focused? In this workshop, you will learn how to use energy healing to feel more centered and grounded so you can bring more clarity and creativity to your life and work.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700


**Winter Solstice Celebration: Drumming Circle and Shamanic Healing
Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 5:45-7:30pm
Katie OberlinHTCP/I
Healing Touch Certified Practitioner/Instructor
Fee: $55.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2018, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700

Recent Health Tips

  • Getting Tough With Your Immune System

    No reasonable physician (I modestly include myself here) can refrain from crowing delightedly when a clinical study confirms the value of a treatment he or she had been using for years, even if that treatment had contradicted prevailing standards. Ever since I learned something about natural medicine, I’ve been reluctant to prescribe antibiotics for respiratory tract infections, such as colds, sore throats, and bronchitis. Many physicians had Read More

  • For A Longer Life…Stand Up Now!

    By far the most common answer to my question, “Exercising these days?” is “Not enough.” This is usually accompanied by the briefest flicker of melancholy regret, as if by such a confession my patient has permanently abandoned the hopes and dreams of both a svelte body and enviable longevity. “Don’t worry,” I say, “It’s just a temporary glitch. You’ll start up again.” (Nod, nod). I Read More

  • Getting Off Blood Pressure Meds Forever, Contaminated Or Not

    If you’re currently taking a blood pressure medication, the chances are pretty good that you’re on one of the ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers). You can recognize these because they end in -sartan, as in losartan and valsartan. You also may have heard that two of the most popular ARBs (valsartan and irbesartan) were abruptly withdrawn this year by the FDA and other agencies around the Read More

December Sale: 20% Off the UltraLux IV Light Box

Full Spectrum Solutions has been an industry leader for the past 20 years, offering therapeutic lighting that is made right here in the Midwest (Michigan). The UltraLux IV is the first and only LED light therapy unit on the market that is both fully adjustable. Unlike many of their competitors, they boast a high CRI rating (90+) and a lifetime warranty so you never have to purchase replacement bulbs again. Full spectrum light therapy is often recommended in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to help make up for the sunlight that is missing from these shorter, winter days.

To learn more about and purchase the UltraLux IV, click here.

To see past Health Tips on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Dr. Edelberg’s recommendations, including a full spectrum light box like the UltraLux IV, click here.