Five Million Older Americans Are Not Taking BP Meds As Directed
Some 5 million Medicare Part D enrollees aged 65 and older do not take their blood pressure medications properly,
according to a Vital Signs report from the CDC. This improper use increases their risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney
disease and death. “A simple action can avoid potentially deadly consequences: take your blood pressure medicine as
prescribed,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. Healthcare systems — including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, community
health workers, practices, hospitals, and insurers — can play a key role in improving blood pressure control
nationwide. Other findings of note:
• The percentage of Medicare Part D enrollees not taking their blood pressure medicine is higher among certain
racial/ethnic groups (American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic). This contributes to these groups’ higher risk of
heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death.
• There are also geographic differences. Southern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have the
highest overall rates of not taking blood-pressure medicines as directed. North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have
the highest rates of people who do take their medicine as directed.
NCPIE encourages healthcare professionals and community groups to foster patient–professional communication about medicines. However, NCPIE does not supervise or endorse the activities of any group or professional. Discussion and action concerning medicines are solely the responsibility of the patient and their healthcare professionals, and not NCPIE.
Please consult a licensed health care professional with questions or concerns about your medication and/or condition.