Heart Beat: November 2009

For statins or anti-hypertensive medications, a rare missed dose is not likely to have adverse health consequences. You should take the medication the next time it is due, without doubling up the dose. The major benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs are conferred over the long-term, and missing a single dose does not increase the risk of heart attack. Forgetting a dose of blood pressure medication can result in a brief interval of hypertension, but not as high as if you were off it entirely, since there is still some residual drug in your system. However, please do not interpret this as an excuse to be lax in taking your meds. They can only help you if taken consistently, every day. Other medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), digoxin, and clopidogrel (Plavix) can have more significant health consequences if doses (especially multiple doses) are missed. If you are on one of these drugs, discuss a pre-emptive plan of action with your pharmacist or doctor in case you miss doses.
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