What Medications Are Used to Treat High Blood Pressure?

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Millions of people around the world have diagnosed high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension...if left untreated hypertension can lead to decreased kidney function, vision impairment, memory loss, aneurysms, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and even death. When individuals are diagnosed with hypertension they often seek treatment from their health care provider. When presented with an individual suffering from diagnosed hypertension a health care provider can chose from an array of treatment options to help lower blood pressure...from diet modifications to exercise programs to weight loss clinics, health care providers have a wide range of treatment strategies at their disposal. However, when diet and exercise are not enough health care providers turn to medications.

What medications are used to treat hypertension?

The most common medications used to treat hypertension are diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB), beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers (CCB).

What is an example of a diuretic used to treat hypertension?

An example of a diuretic used to treat hypertension would be hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). How does HCTZ work? HCTZ works by inhibiting the kidneys' ability to retain water...this lack of water retention helps lower blood pressure.

What is the typical dose range for HCTZ?

The recommended adult dose of HCTZ for the treatment of hypertension can range from 12.5 - 50 mg per day.

What are typical HCTZ side effects?

The typical side effects of HCTZ include: electrolyte imbalances, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, constipation, cramping, nausea and vomiting.

What is an example of an ACE inhibitor used to treat hypertension?

An example of an ACE inhibitor used to treat hypertension would be lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril).

How does lisinopril work?

Lisinopril helps prevent blood vessels from narrowing, which increases blood flow to the heart and ultimately lowers blood pressure.

What is the typical dose range for lisinopril?

The recommended adult dose of lisinopril for the treatment of hypertension can range from 10 - 40 mg per day.

What are typical lisinopril side effects?

The typical side effects of lisinopril include: cough, electrolyte imbalances, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

What is an example of an ARB used to treat hypertension?

An example of an ARB used to treat hypertension would be losartan (Cozaar).

How does losartan work?

Losartan helps widen blood vessels by inhibiting the angiotensin hormone...this helps increase blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure.

What is the typical dose range for losartan?

The recommended adult dose of losartan for the treatment of hypertension can range from 25 - 100 mg per day...doses can be administered once or twice daily.

What are typical losartan side effects?

The typical side effects of losartan include: chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, weakness and diarrhea.

What is an example of a beta-blocker used to treat hypertension?

An example of a beta-blocker used to treat hypertension would be metoprolol (Lopressor).

How does metoprolol work?

Metoprolol works by blocking certain nerve and hormonal signals to the heart and blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

What is the typical dose range for metoprolol?

The recommended adult dose of metoprolol for the treatment of hypertension can range from 100 - 450 mg per day...desired dose may be given in 2 - 3 divided doses.

What are typical metoprolol side effects?

The typical side effects of metoprolol include: low blood pressure, short term memory loss, decreased libido, dizziness, headache, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

What is an example of a CCB used to treat hypertension?

An example of a CCB used to treat hypertension would be amlodipine (Norvasc).

How does amlodipine work?

Amlodipine prevents the heart and blood vessel cells from absorbing calcium, which relaxes cells and helps lower blood pressure.

What is the typical dose range for amlodipine?

The recommended adult dose of amlodipine for the treatment of hypertension can range from 2.5 - 10 mg per day.

What are typical amlodipine side effects?

The typical side effects of amlodipine include: heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, nausea and abdominal pain.

About the Author

Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture

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