Birth control pill: women warned to have their blood pressure checked

ByDonald L. Leech

Sep 2, 2022

A doctor is asking women who use birth control pills to test their blood pressure every six months, saying it could protect them against stroke, heart and kidney disease.

Dr Andrew Thompson, medical director of telehealth and prescription service InstantScripts, said there was a worrying lack of awareness of the health risks when prescribing the pill to women.

“It can be easy for healthcare professionals to downplay issues related to blood pressure and oral contraception,” Dr. Thompson said.

High blood pressure, or high blood pressure, generally does not affect people under 40, the target market for contraceptives.

“However, this is no reason to waive all precautions because the potential health outcomes for women, if they occur, can be disastrous,” Dr. Thompson said.

His concern arose after InstantScripts customers questioned whether they needed to provide information about their previous blood pressure measurement to receive a new prescription.

Many telehealth and online prescription services now offer the pill to women without requiring them to go to the doctor’s office for a blood test.

Dr Thompson said there was a lack of regulation around prescribing the pill and many providers were not asking their patients enough questions.

Hypertension is the leading modifiable risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease and one in five women (20%) have uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Although the odds are relatively low, Dr. Thompson says women should always be aware of the dangers.

“It is extremely important that women ask a pharmacist or GP to have their blood pressure checked before being prescribed an oral contraceptive,” he said.

He recommends women check their blood pressure every six months.

“Symptoms surrounding high blood pressure can also be easy to miss,” Dr. Thompson said.

“Online providers have a duty of care and responsibility to minimize health risks by ensuring patients take all necessary precautionary measures.”

Headaches, fatigue, irregular breathing, and chest pain can all have an underlying link to high blood pressure.