font size


High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Medications

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects nearly a third of all Americans. With hypertension, too much force is exerted on the arteries as blood is pumped through. This results not only in damage to the blood vessels themselves, but to other organs forced to bear the stress.

Blood pressure is assessed using two parameters -- the systolic and diastolic pressures -- which measure, respectively, the maximum pressure exerted in the arteries as the heart contracts, and the minimum pressure in those vessels between cardiac contractions. In adults, blood pressure is considered normal if the top number (systolic pressure) is between 90 and 120 and the bottom number (diastolic) is between 60 and 80.

High blood pressure medication list

There are several classes of blood pressure medications. Each class lowers blood pressure in a different way.

Diuretics

Diuretics increase urination which reduces sodium and fluid in the body. That can help lower blood pressure because it lowers blood volume. Mild hypertension can sometimes be treated using diuretics alone, although they are more commonly used in combination with other high blood pressure medications. Examples of diuretics include:

One side effect of diuretics is a loss of potassium, which is carried out of the body in urine along with the sodium. Potassium is needed for proper muscular movement and a deficiency of this mineral can result in fatigue, weakness, leg cramps, and even problems with the heart. So often, patients on traditional diuretics will be advised to take their medication with a potassium-rich food, such as orange juice or a banana, or they'll be prescribed a potassium supplement.

Some diuretics were subsequently developed to address the issue of potassium loss. These blood pressure medications are known as "potassium-sparing" diuretics. They include amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), and triamterene (Dyrenium).

Finally, there are the combination diuretics, which include a potassium-sparing agent and a traditional diuretic. These include amiloride hydrochloride and hydrochlorothiazide HCTZ (Moduretic), spironolactone and HCTZ (Aldactazide), and triamterene and HCTZ (Dyazide, Maxzide).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014



Hypertension

Get tips on handling your hypertension.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD