URL of this page: /bloodpressuremedicines.html

Blood Pressure Medicines

Also called: Antihypertensive medicines, High blood pressure medicines
On this page

See, Play and Learn

  • No links available

Resources

Summary

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when blood puts too much pressure against the walls of your arteries. About 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, usually with no symptoms. But it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney disease.

What lifestyle changes can help lower high blood pressure?

Healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure:

What if lifestyle changes alone cannot lower blood pressure?

Sometimes lifestyle changes alone cannot control or lower your high blood pressure. In that case, your health care provider may prescribe blood pressure medicines.

How do blood pressure medicines work?

Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to lower blood pressure:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) keep your blood vessels from narrowing as much
  • Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels. This allows the blood vessels to relax.
  • Diuretics remove extra water and sodium (salt) from your body. This lowers the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill.
  • Beta blockers help your heart beat slower and with less force. This means that your heart pumps less blood through your blood vessels. Beta blockers are typically used only as a backup option or if you also have certain other conditions.

Often, two or more medicines work better than one. While taking the medicines, it is still important to keep up with your healthy lifestyle changes.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • High Blood Pressure -- Medicines to Help You (Food and Drug Administration)
  • High Blood Pressure Medicines (Food and Drug Administration) - PDF
  • What Is High Blood Pressure Medicine? (American Heart Association) - PDF
  • What You Should Know about High Blood Pressure and Medications (American Heart Association)

Related Issues

  • Blood Pressure Medications: Can They Raise My Triglycerides? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Calcium Supplements: Do They Interfere with Blood Pressure Drugs? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Can Beta Blockers Cause Weight Gain? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Can Diuretics Decrease Your Potassium Level? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Can Weight Loss Reduce the Need for Blood Pressure Medication? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Choosing Blood Pressure Medications (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Diuretics and Gout: What's the Connection? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Herbal Supplements May Not Mix with Heart Medicines (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • How Do Beta Blocker Drugs Affect Exercise? (American Heart Association)
  • Managing High Blood Pressure Medications (American Heart Association)

Specifics

  • Alpha Blockers (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Beta Blockers (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Calcium Channel Blockers (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Central-Acting Agents (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Diuretics (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Types of Blood Pressure Medications (American Heart Association)
  • Vasodilators (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish

Genetics

Statistics and Research

  • CDC Vital Signs: Blood Pressure Control -- Helping Patients Take Their Medicine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Clinical Trials

  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Antihypertensive Agents From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: Resistant hypertension: A stepwise approach.
  • Article: Effects of the July 2018 worldwide valsartan recall and shortage on...
  • Article: Behavioural Economics to Improve Antihypertensive Therapy Adherence (BETA): protocol for a...
  • Blood Pressure Medicines -- see more articles

Find an Expert

  • American Heart Association
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

newsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnewsnews