Treating pulmonary hypertension requires several different types of medications. Your physician may use diuretics, blood thinners, PDEV inhibitors, ERAs, and or prostacyclin therapies. In addition other physicians could be adding medications for diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, or heart arrhythmias. It is critical to keep an accurate up to date list of these medications. This list should be carried with you at all times so it is available for routine appointments and in case of an emergency.
What should be on a complete medication list?
A complete medication list should include:
- Name of the medication: Both the generic and trade name appear on most medication bottles, it is helpful to have both listed.
- Dose of the medication: The exact strength of the medication tablets as well as how many you take at a time. For example list 2 20mg tablets rather than 40mg.
- Frequency of the medication: Once, twice, three times a day, before meals, at bedtime, etc.
- Prescribing physician: The doctor that wrote the most recent prescription of the medication and will be monitoring if necessary.
- Date started/stopped: This is important to know so the physician can monitor progress and also to obtain prior authorizations from insurance companies. For example some insurance companies request that a patient try a therapy for at least 90 days before being approved for an additional therapy.
- Reason for medication: Why did the doctor put you on this medication? Examples would be PH, edema, or pain.
- Special instructions: Take with food, do not drive, etc.
What other information should I carry with my medication list?
Other helpful information to have with your medication list includes:
- Complete names, phone number, fax number, and specialty of all physicians involved in your care.
- Pharmacy name, phone, and fax number.
Why do I have to review my medication list at every appointment?
Although it can be time consuming and frustrating to slowly review every medication and the dosage at every appointment it is an essential step to receiving good healthcare. Your pulmonary hypertension specialist makes a plan and recommendations based on the list you provide. It is very important to review the exact dose of each medication and frequency along with the name. If there is inaccurate information on the list or medications have been omitted the plan your provider initiates may not provide benefit and may even be harmful if there are drug interactions. For example if a patient’s medication list says they take 20mg of lasix once a day and 20mg of Revatio three times a day but is feeling increased shortness of breath and having some edema the physician may increase the lasix to 20mg twice a day and 2 20mg tablets of Revatio three times a day. What if the patient was really taking 20mg of lasix twice day and had stopped the Revatio due to side effects? The patient would not be receiving proper therapy for their symptoms.