Muslims urged to seek medicine advice during Ramadan

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Blood pressure news

Muslims urged to seek medicine advice during Ramadan

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is encouraging Muslims who are taking blood pressure medications or tablets to seek advice during Ramadan (Friday 21 August to Saturday 19 September).

People who are ill are exempt from fasting during this religious festival, but many people with long-term medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, often choose to fast.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society warns that avoiding food or drink during daylight hours could cause problems with people's medicines. For people with high blood pressure, fasting may cause difficulties and loss of control of blood pressure:

  • blood pressure medicines may end up being taken at a different time of day to their normal time to avoid daylight hours, and may mean that the medicines aren't taken at the best time
  • fasting may stop the body from absorbing the blood pressure medicine's active ingredient - which may raise blood pressure to dangerously high levels
  • a lack of food may allow the body to absorb too much of the drug - potentially lowering blood pressure to dangerously low levels.

Because of these concerns, the Society is encouraging all Muslims with long-term conditions to discuss their medicines with a pharmacist. Just a few minutes discussion, they say, is enough to avoid any unwanted problems and make sure that everyone gets the best from their medication.

Waqas Ahmad, a pharmacist, a muslim and spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, offered the following advice: “Community pharmacists are easily accessible and can play a key role in helping and supporting people with their medicine use when they are fasting. Discussing their plans with a pharmacist will allow patients to identify potential problems or difficulties. In turn possible solutions may be suggested to help people keep their fasts while continuing to take their medication in a safe and effective manner.

"In many cases pharmacists may be in a position to offer advice on different medicine formulations such as sustained release formulations, whereby the drug only requires one daily dose.”

Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, supported the Society's advice. “Although the Qur’an says Muslims can be exempt from fasting, some people refuse to take advantage of the exemptions and allowances which are available," he said. "That higher type of piety isn’t required, especially where health complications are possible and can arise. We recognise that it’s important that people are able to observe their religious practice but are equally clear that they should not risk their health."

Related Links

Further information on blood pressure medicines from the Blood Pressure Association - the UK's blood pressure charity:


Royal Pharmaceutical Press Release: Royal Pharmaceutical Society issues guidance to muslims on safe medicine management during Ramadan. 18 August 2009

To read the press release, please click on the following link:

Topics: Medicines, Lifestyle

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