High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Medications
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
- What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?
- High blood pressure medication list
- Beta blockers
- ACE inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha blockers
- Alpha-2 receptor agonist
- Central agonists
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
- What are the most common blood pressure medications?
- What is the best high blood pressure medication?
- What are common high blood pressure side effects?
- Is it safe to take high blood pressure medication during pregnancy?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking high blood pressure medications?
- Does high blood pressure lead to weight gain?
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 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:
- Bumetanide (Bumex)
- Chlorthalidone (Hygroton)
- Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
- Ethacrynate (Edecrin)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Hydrochlorothiazide HCTZ (Esidrix, Hydrodiuril, Microzide)
- Indapamide (Lozol)
- Methyclothiazide (Enduron)
- Metolazone (Mykroz, Zaroxolyn)
- Torsemide (Demadex)
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).
Next: Beta blockers
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