May 26, 2016
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Medications (cont.)

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Is it safe to take high blood pressure medication during pregnancy?

Some high blood pressure medications should absolutely NOT be used during pregnancy as they may harm the mother and developing fetus. These medications include the ACE inhibitors and the angiotensin II receptor blockers. Reserpine may also be harmful during pregnancy and should only be used when no other alternatives exist.

Safe medications to use include methyldopa and potentially some diuretics and beta blockers, including labetalol.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking high blood pressure medications?

Some high blood pressure medications initially cause drowsiness, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Some even cause fainting on the first dose. The body usually adjusts to the effects of these medications and the side effects disappear. Consuming alcohol during the early phase of antihypertensive treatment could be risky because alcohol can also cause dizziness, drowsiness, and lightheadedness.

Also, alcohol consumption causes a transient rise in blood pressure that could persist if the drinking is beyond the level of "moderation."

Does high blood pressure lead to weight gain?

Some high blood pressure medications can, in fact, lead to weight gain. Common offenders include older beta blockers such as propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin). There could be several reasons for this -- including the fact that the medications can make patients feel tired and thus less likely to exercise. Minoxidil tablets (Loniten) -- used only when other antihypertensive medications have failed -- can also cause weight gain. Weight gain is also listed as a common side effect of doxazosin (Cardura). Diuretics are more likely to cause weight loss.

Reviewed by:

Robert J. Bryg, MD

Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016


Hypertension

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