High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. There are various medications for high blood pressure. Know general information about hypertension, the medications and the side effects of those medicines.

High blood pressure is a serious problem and some medications that are used to keep this rising blood pressure in control are known as antihypertensive drugs.

Common Blood Pressure Medications

The commonly prescribes blood pressure medicines are:

1. ‘Water’ pills or diuretics:

These medicines work by increasing the amount of salt and other fluids that are excreted during urination.This reduces the fluids circulating in the blood, and hence the blood pressure is also decreased. The commonly used diuretics are thiazides or thiazide-like diuretics. Only small amount of diuretics are prescribed and that too after a checkup of proper kidney functioning.

2. Alpha blockers:

These drugs are designed to block the alpha adrenergic receptors.When a hormone called catecholamine binds to the receptors; it causes the constriction of the blood vessels. This results in raised blood pressure and an increased heartbeat. Some of the common alpha blocker drugs are:

• Doxazosin mesylate
• Prazosin hydrochloride

3. Beta blockers:

These are those medicines that lower the heart pumping rate and hence decreases the pressure exerted by blood on the blood vessels carrying them. These medicines are used in angina attack. Frequently used beta-blocker drugs are:

• Acebutolol
• Atenolol
• Metoprolol
• Pindolol
• Sotalol
• Timolol
• Bisoprolol

4. ACE inhibitors:

These medicines prevent the formation of angiotensin II, a hormone that is known to cause the constriction of the blood vessels. These medications help to reduce the blood pressure by preventing the angiotensin II to increase the BP.

Commonly used ACE inhibitor drugs are:

• Benazepril hydrochloride
• Enalapril maleate
• Fosinopril sodium
• Quinapril hydrochloride
• Ramipril
• Ramipril
• Lisinopril, etc.

5. Angiotensin ii receptor blockers:

Angiotensin-II hormone binds with the receptors to cause the tightening of the blood vessels. The Angiotensin II receptor blocker drugs prevent the binding of the hormone to the receptor and hence avoid the constriction of blood vessels. As a result of which the blood pressure falls. The common used medicines to reduce blood pressure are:

• Losartan potassium
• Valsartan
• Candesartan
• Telmisartan, etc.

6. Calcium channel blockers:

Calcium is required to cause the constriction and to relax the muscles. The calcium moves in and out of the muscles with the help of calcium channels. The drug works by blocking the calcium channels as a result of which the heart muscles work smoothly and the extra pressure on the heart is reduced. This decreases the blood pressure. Commonly used drugs are:

• Bepridil
• Felodipine
• Diltiazem hydrochloride
• Verapamil hydrochloride
• Amlodipine besylate

7. Alpha 2 receptor antagonists:

It is yet another commonly used blood pressure medication. Just like alpha blockers, these drugs also work by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system to decrease the blood pressure. The commonly used antagonist drug is Methyldopa.
8. Peripheral andrenergic inhibitors:
These are those drugs that work by blocking the chemical messenger or hormones in the brain. They avoid the heart muscles from working too hard to pump the blood and cause a smooth and normal blood flow through blood vessels. The following drugs are used:

• Guanadrel
• Guanethidine mono sulfate
• Reserpin

9. Vasodilators:

Blood flowing in the small arteries called arterioles, put a high pressure on the walls of the vessels when the blood pressure rises very high. The vasodilator acts in a way to widen the blood vessels and allow the blood to flow more easily. The vasodilators are a great drug used to relax the muscles of the blood vessel walls. Commonly used vasodilators:

• Minoxidil
• Hydralazine hydrochloride

Also Read: Living with Blood Thinners and their side-effects

Side effects of the blood pressure:

Just like various other drugs, blood pressure drugs also contain some possible side effects. All people might not feel the similar symptoms. The common side effects are:

• Extreme cough
• Dizziness
• Swelling of ankles
• Anxiety
• Sleep apnoea
• Constipation
• Impotence
• Tiredness
• Gout, etc.

Ask your doctor about all the possible side effects of the drugs prescribed by him.

Also Read: How to Maintain a Healthy Heart?


Blood pressure is a serious problem and requires proper treatment to keep the blood pressure levels in the limit. There are various blood pressure medications available, asks your doctor to prescribe the best medication suited to your health and physical fitness.

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