I was on 25-50mg of hydrochlorothiazide for over a year, and I was also on benicar hct 40/25 for about 11 months. I can gain/lose as much as seven pounds of water weight within a short period of time depending on my salt intake---but for the record, the phrase "salt sensitive high blood pressure" has little medical meaning to me. However, given my experience on these medications I feel qualified to share my experiences with you.
While on 25-50 mg of hct per day, I experienced the following:
slept 12-20 hours per day, slept through doctor appointments, physical therapy appts, etc. I was still charged for these appts, by the way. I was too tired to brush my teeth, I was too tired to dry myself off after a moring shower--I would have to sleep an hour or so in my terry bathrobe before I could finish drying myself off and dressing, I was too tired to fix meals, too tired to return phone calls, too tired to call the doctor and tell him I was no longer able to function.
experienced excructiating pain in back making it difficult if not impossible to get out of bed in the am, and severe pain in left shoulder--was not allowed to lift so much as a gallon of milk for 6 weeks--saw a physical therapist for 14 weeks....neither doctor nor I realized these were side effects of the medication until after I had discontinued it (although these symptoms were listed on the rx drug sheet as side effects). Did not experience these symptoms before or after taking hct.
experienced changes in vision---got new eyeglasses (for $350/pair plus eye exam) but side effects of hct blurred my vision so glasses were worthless---went through 2 more pairs of glasses before I realized it was a side effect (overdose) of the medication as doctors were not aware of it either...but it is listed as a side effect in the literature! Am now using eyeglasses that are about 5 years old but I can see perfectly! If you add the costs here, it comes up to over $1000 of worthless eyeglasses...
Experienced brain fog---someone who is articulate should start a thread defining this side effect. If you've had it, you KNOW you've had it. Basically, you can't think, can't add numbers, can't do anytning that requires the use of memory or your mind! Decision making is POOR at best. I drove through a number of familiar stop signs/lights while under the influence of this medication---I have a perfect motor vehicle history, but to this day I am grateful I didn't kill someone with my vehicle while taking this medication.
experienced periodic limb movements (as many as 388 per night) while on this drug as recorded in a sleep study six months after I started taking hct. Although I have no proof (because I did not have a sleep study done before I started taking hct, nor did I have a sleep study done after discoing the drug)I am convinced I stopped experiencing these nocturnal movements when I discontinued the hct....my experience with benicar hct supports these suspicions.
Cholesterol level went from a healthy 160 to over 260 in the year I was on this med, and yes, elevated cholesterol levels are listed as side effects as well as elevated blood glucose levels.
Oh, and because I was ALWAYS exhausted, I was not able to eat or exercise properly and I gained over 20 pounds that year, which I'm sure increased my blood pressure because I was then put on another med...
benicar hct 40/25 mg
This too was a doozy....
exhaustion comes to mind but the real problem I had with benicar hct was restless leg...although I had periodic limb movements while I slept when I was taking hct, while on benicar hct, my legs started jumping around in the afternoon, several hours after taking my medication. These movements progressively got worse and at bedtime, despite my exhaustion, I had to get out of bed and pace for 1-2 hours before going back to bed to try to sleep. My sleep doctor and my primary both denied a connection to the benicar but I insisted on discoing the med and it was just a matter of days of discoing the med before the movements stopped...I haven't had them since! And I don't expect to have them again because I will never, ever take hct again in my life.
These are not all of the side effects I experienced while on these medications, but I think you get the picture.
Both medications may be a godsend to many with high blood pressure...but you need to be aware of the possible side effects BEFORE you take the medication as the doctors don't---mine certainly didn't, and my mind was too far gone to help me out. If I hadn't been too tired to eat and to take my meds, I'd still be on this medication today because it wasn't until I was too tired to take my meds that I started to feel better...it was only after several days of "missed doses" that I could pull it together enough to call a friend for help.
Both medications may be a godsend to many with high blood pressure...but you need to be aware of the possible side effects BEFORE you take the medication as the doctors don't---mine certainly didn't, and my mind was too far gone to help me out.
After reading your post (thanks for sharing your experiences with these meds) I am re-thinking the whole deal. I was considering trading Spironolactone for hydrochlorothiazide. Now I am not so sure. If I switch, I could bet I am going to experience at least one, probably SEVERAL of the side effects you described. I think my eclectic mix of medications is to blame for my susceptibility.
I am hoping to return to work (if all goes well with the Micardis) and the brain fog would be a major setback. My mind is the one thing that works fine and I'd like to keep it that way. I joked with the doc that I might need to have my head examined as this part of me has yet to be tested!
HCTZ has been my panecea. I have really no side effects as long as I get my potassium (food) quota everyday which is pretty easy to do. The last two wks I've been taking my HCTZ @ 8 or 9 am & then waiting until 12n to take my Labetalol. Hctz is so easy to take as it doesn't cause any problems. Once I take labetalol at Noon I get tired. Goes to show you how different we are in response to meds. I'm only on 12mg HCTZ because I've read that going beyond that dose doesn't decrease b/p more but can cause electrolyte problems. I wish I could just take HCTZ. Remember I have HCTZ specially made up by a compound pharmacist so I just have cornstarch & HCTZ in a capsule. Maybe part of the problem is the extra ingredients that are added to the pills. When I took the pills, I had a allergic reaction plus stomach & muscle problems. If we could just find out beforehand what reaction each med would give us. Fam
have you found another manufacturer who is willing to make your HCTZ pills for you? Do you have to pay a lot more for your meds? I would think they are expensive! We do what we have to do.
Thanks for mentioning your reaction to these pills. One never knows what to expect when trying a new medicine. Everyone is different and I am sure there are many people who experienced no problems at all with these meds initially. I am OK with the Micardis so far. No terrible side effects. It makes no sense I reacted so badly to Diovan, since it belongs to the same class of drugs as Micardis. I hope it works well.
Hello fellow healthboarders I was wondering if anyone knows if Benicar along with HCTZ, would be good for someone that has salt sensative HBP and heart palpations.
THe ideal blood pressure medication for someone with salt sensitive, also called V-type or Volume driven hypertension is a diuretic of some kind. VERY basically there are three types of diuretics, the thiazides (including HCTZ and chlorthalidone) which dispel sodium in the early part of the kidney filtration (ascending loop), and the LOOP diuretics (primarily Lasix<furosemide>) which) remove water and sodium in the Loop of Henle (another liver tubule structure), and finally the postassium sparing diuretics which reclaim lost potassium and slow it's excretion.
People in this category (estimated at 25% of hypertensives have their BP caused priomarily because they conserve sodium and fluid too well and this excess fluid causes pressure in the vascular system. THey are differentiated from the more normal hypertensives, the R-type or enin Hypertensives whose kidneys produce too much Renin and this sets off a cascade of chemicals that ul;timately raise BP, but only PARTLY becasue excess sodium and water is conserved.
There are probably people who have elements of both.
To the degree that one is more V-type then the ACE inhibitors and the ARB's are useless drugs that might actually even RAISE BP but are usually just rather useless. No sense trying to lower or inactivate Renin and angiotensin levels in people who have NORMAL levels.
The usually prescribed diuretic are the thiazides, which were the very first of the hypertensive medicines developed a half century ago...for years the ONLY medication. There are people who are allergic to thiazides and these people usually also show sulfa allergies (same family.) If one cannot take thiazides (which also cause mail erection problems after many years) then LOOP diuretics can be used effectively. I really LIKE Lasix.
If you rely on any diuretic for BP control, it is important to periodically monitor your serum sodium and potassium levels and to make sure you don't allow yourself to dehydrate while exercising on a very hot humid day.
For hypertension and palpitations, the ideal combo might be HCTZ + a beta blocker but most people have no problems at all with HCTZ + any ARB like Benicar...but the Benicar won't touch the palps.
For the palps, why not try some daily magnesium supplementation.
Thanks for your response. After all those side effects you scared the heck out of me. What meds are you now taking? Are they working for you? I hate this disease I wish they could find a cure.
I don't want to scare the heck out of you, but I do want you to know that taking medication is serious business and that you need to educate yourself about possible side effects. We often hear about how important it is to take our blood pressure medication, not to miss doses, and high blood pressure can kill....but we don't hear enough about the side effects and the dangers of those side effects. Doctors often don't recognize side effects and instead of lowering doses or switching meds, they prescribe more meds....a very viscious circle. In some cases these meds are life savors....but in some cases these meds can kill....that is why you need to know what to look for...so you can be alert to problems, and so you can be confident when you tell your doctor about your problems---many of us had doctors shake their heads and discount or deny our symptoms. But if you've done your reading and research, you'll be better prepared to advocate for your health and work with your doctor. And he should respect you for that...if he doesn't, find another doctor.
I am presently off medication for the time being. I was on Norvasc, a calcium channel blocker, which gave me the fewest side effects of the five different medications I've been on (I"ve been on hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril, benicar hct, atenolol, and norvasc, but only 1 drug at a time). Hct was effective initially (I remember the nurse saying, "Wow, that brought it right down!"), but for whatever the reason, it climbed back up in a matter of months. Lisinopril, the ACE inhibitor, was too effective as I was light headed and experienced fainting due to low blood pressure on that med).
I've been off medication for almost 3 weeks and my pressures are better than they have been while on medication--103-118/63-78! But I am cautiously optimistic because I am well aware that the effects of medication can remain several weeks after discontinuing it. I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU STOP TAKING MEDICATION WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S ADVICE!
As for a "cure" for high blood pressure---if the cause isn't condition (like sleep apnea) or disease (like aldosteronism) related, diet, exercise, salt restriction, stress reduction, smoking elimination, and moderate alcohol use can create miracles! You might want to check out my previous post on Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Systolic by....
If lifestyle changes don't eliminate meds, they can certainly reduce dosages and are well worth the effort.
Take care, Tweetee, and take your meds wisely!
Last edited by bethsheba; 06-17-2007 at 06:45 PM.
Reason: eliminate duplication
I'm only on 12mg HCTZ because I've read that going beyond that dose doesn't decrease b/p more but can cause electrolyte problems...... When I took the pills, I had a allergic reaction plus stomach & muscle problems. If we could just find out beforehand what reaction each med would give us. Fam
I'm really glad the hct is working for you!!! It's cheap and effective for lots of people from what I understand. Hmmmm, interesting about the 12 mg being effective. I think that what I started out at but then they increased it...I've got some theories but I need to wait a few more weeks to verify some of my findings.
FYI I usually have a banana milkshake for breakfast, and I know I was taking a potassium supplement (with my doctor's knowledge) at that time I was on hct. I know that a potassium deficiency can cause muscle spasms so I suspected that might have been the reason for my nocturnal periodic limb movements....but then why, didn't I get them during the day, too? Any ideas? I just want to understand why side effects happen and why they can cause so much gosh darn pain.
After 9 yrs. on various Ace inhibitors my doctor said they weren't effective anymore. So he switched me to Benecar HCT 40/25. Within a couple of weeks I was almost incapacitated by joint pain and I was so tired all the time I could barely get out of bed. I quit the Benecar and went back to Accupril. Accupril is not the answer but I'm doing my best to loose the 40 additional pounds I'm hauling around. This is my second attempt at Benecar. I tried it last summer without the HCT, same issues. I know there's a lot worse complaints on these boards than BP issues.
I really appreciate your feedback on the benicar...people need to know that these side effects are not in their head but are very real. And they need to know that there are other drugs out there that are effective and have milder side effects!
Just because there are "worse complaints" out there doesn't mean there are better drugs out there for you to try...although I went through 5 different meds, each med was better than the one I had tried previously. So do keep an open mind.
I'm sure you are aware that accupril is an ace inhibitor....do you and the doctor think it will be effective given ace inhibitors seem to have "lost" their effectiveness thus far?
quote: "I'm sure you are aware that accupril is an ace inhibitor....do you and the doctor think it will be effective given ace inhibitors seem to have "lost" their effectiveness thus far?"
I didn't tell the doctor. I just switched back myself to Accupril. After roughly a week back on Accupril, I reeeally feel bad. I felt pretty bad all W.E.. today at work I was under some moderate stress trying repair some computer issues for a customer. I was lightheaded, and my hands were shaking like I had the D.T.'s, all the time sweating like a waterfall. I should mention I quit all alcohol 4 months ago, after over indulging for 30 yrs.. I'm 60 now. I'm trying to loose weight. I don't know if my current symptoms are BP related or if I'm still adjusting to no alcohol.
I'm on my 3rd day back on Benecar HCT. The Accupril was doing absolutely nothing for me. I even thought about having the Accupril pills checked for potency as I get a generic from Wally world that they get from another supplier. The pills have changed in appearance since the change in distributor.