Medication support needed for women with hypertension

Clinical Pharmacist Sarah Abou-El-Makarem
21 March 2023 |

Nine out of 10 pregnant women using anti-hypertensive medication report some degree of suboptimal adherence to taking their medication.

Health professionals, including pharmacists, general practitioners and obstetricians, have a role to play in supporting them.

Researchers studied 100 pregnant women with either chronic hypertension or gestational hypertension. These women were using at least one anti-hypertensive medication while also attending antenatal clinics at the Women’s and the Mercy Hospital over a 10-month period.

Lead researcher Amyna Helou, an honorary pharmacist at the Women’s during the study, said many of the women described putting up with medical problems as they were overwhelmed by the risks associated with their condition.

Others were confused about their medication, either as a result of lack of symptoms or because of conflicting advice from different clinicians. A third group said their lifestyles (being preoccupied with daily routines) affected their adherence to their medication regimens.

In-depth interviews were conducted with a subset of 27 women. Quotes from interviews were used to illustrate the quantitative results.

“A couple of times I forgot to take it and nothing happened to me.” (First pregnancy, chronic hypertension, aged 30).

“I have sort of avoided asking because I have been a bit scared.” (First pregnancy, chronic hypertension, aged 35).

“I was a bit confused at the beginning of the pregnancy because I saw that my blood pressure wasn’t that high.” (Second pregnancy, chronic hypertension, aged 33).

“Non-adherence to medication can contribute significantly to treatment failure and unnecessary over-prescribing,” Ms Helou said.

“Good adherence to treatment for pregnancy-induced conditions such as gestational hypertension is important to optimise health outcomes for the mother and the foetus.”

This research was published in Pregnancy Hypertension.