Doctors and pharmacists often use abbreviations or terms that may not be familiar. Here is an explanation of some of the most common abbreviations you will see on the labels of your prescription medications:. Unwanted or unexpected symptoms or feelings, such as upset stomach, sleepiness, and dizziness, that happen when you take a medicine are called side effects.
Some side effects happen just when you start taking a medicine. Some happen only once in a while. But other side effects may make you want to stop taking the medicine. Tell your doctor if this happens. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine or help you deal with side effects in other ways. Talk to your doctor about any side effects before you stop taking any medicines. Your doctor may have tips that can help, such as eating a light snack with your pills. You may want to talk to your doctor about switching to a new medicine.
Taking medicines on an empty stomach means that you should take your pills 2 hours before you eat or 2 hours after you eat.
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No, even if you are feeling better, you should not stop taking your prescription drug unless your doctor says it is okay. Medicines: Common Questions Answered. On this page: I've been taking the same prescription medicine for years. One or more of these blood pressure medicines are often used to treat high blood pressure: Diuretics are also called water pills. They help your kidneys remove some salt sodium from your body. As a result, your blood vessels do not have to hold as much fluid and your blood pressure goes down.
Beta-blockers make the heart beat at a slower rate and with less force. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors also called ACE inhibitors relax your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure. Angiotensin II receptor blockers also called ARBs work in about the same way as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels by stopping calcium from entering cells.
Blood pressure medicines that are not used as often include: Alpha-blockers help relax your blood vessels, which lowers your blood pressure. Centrally acting drugs signal your brain and nervous system to relax your blood vessels. Vasodilators signal the muscles in the walls of blood vessels to relax. Renin inhibitors , a newer type of medicine for treating high blood pressure, act by reducing the amount of angiotensin precursors thereby relaxing your blood vessels.
Women's Health Care Physicians
Some common side effects of high blood pressure medicines include: Cough Diarrhea or constipation Dizziness or lightheadedness Erection problems Feeling nervous Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy Headache Nausea or vomiting Skin rash Weight loss or gain without trying Tell your provider as soon as possible if you have side effects or the side effects are causing you problems.
In this article, we discuss what a person should do if they lose a combination or progestin-only birth control pill. We also explore how missing a pill can affect pregnancy rates and medical conditions. Combination pills contain both estrogen and progestin. If a person loses a pill, they should call their doctor and ask for a replacement pack as soon as possible.
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In the meantime, the doctor may offer the following advice:. If a person loses a pill and fewer than 48 hours have passed since they took their last pill, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC recommend:. If a person has lost only one pill and returned to a regular dosage immediately, it is not usually necessary to use alternative methods of contraception, such as condoms. However, it is best to use these if there are any doubts.
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Returning to a reliable dosage of birth control becomes more difficult if a person has missed two or more doses, or it has been longer than 48 hours since the last dose. Progestin-only pills are also called POPs or mini-pills. A person must take them within the same 3-hour period every day to prevent pregnancy. Progestin-only pills take effect more quickly than combined pills, typically within about 2 days, but the effects also wear off more quickly.
This means that there is less room for error. If a person misses their 3-hour window, and it has been 27 hours or more since their last dose, the CDC recommend:. If a person takes birth control pills correctly, they are 99 percent effective for preventing pregnancy. The pill is much less effective if a person does not follow the instructions.
Typical use generally results in a 9 percent failure rate. A person can still become pregnant while taking the pill. This can occur on purpose or by accident. Many wonder if the hormones in the pill can affect the fetus.
What this means for pregnant couples
A study from , which looked at more than , live births in Denmark, reported no link between birth control pills and birth abnormalities. Missing doses of birth control pills or taking them too far apart can also result in unscheduled bleeding, which can be bothersome. It is important to note that some people take birth control pills for reasons other than contraception.
Birth control pills can also help to treat medical conditions, including:. If a person taking birth control pills to manage PCOS or endometriosis loses a pill or misses a dose, they should follow the relevant advice from the CDC above. PCOS is an endocrine disorder that is closely linked with hormonal imbalances. It affects about 10 percent of women of childbearing age, and it is associated with a wide variety of health problems.
For people with endometriosis, hormonal birth control pills can help to reduce pain and make periods lighter, shorter, and more regular. Losing a pill or missing a dose may cause a slight increase in these symptoms. It will last until the dosage is back on track. Like any medication, birth control pills work best if a person follows a doctor's instructions.
In the case of these pills, this involves taking one a day. The pill is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if a person takes it correctly, but after factoring in human error, it is only 91 percent effective.