We list the different blood pressure medications currently available. Before starting any treatment, you must review all the medicines you take with your doctor and be aware of its potential adverse effects. Equally important, do not stop taking a drug or alter the dose or frequency of your prescription without consulting your doctor.
Classes of blood pressure medication
As an overview, here is a list of the different classes of blood pressure medications that we will discuss shortly:
- ACE inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha-2 Receptor Agonists
- Combined alpha and beta-blockers
- Central agonists
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
Note: Do not take any of these without your doctor’s approval. It is essential to know more about these drugs before starting your medication.
Diuretics help lower blood pressure by assisting the body in flushing out extra water and sodium (salt). Diuretics are frequently used in conjunction with other prescribed medicines.
Beta-blockers reduce blood pressure by lowering the heart’s workload, heart rate, and blood output.
ACE refers to the angiotensin-converting enzyme. With the use of ACE inhibitors, the body produces less angiotensin, which encourages blood vessels to relax and dilate, so lowering blood pressure.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers
Angiotensin, which causes the arteries to narrow, is blocked by these medications. To narrow the blood vessel, angiotensin requires a receptor akin to a chemical “slot” that it can fit into or bond with. ARBs disable the receptors, preventing angiotensin II from narrowing the blood artery. Blood arteries remain open as a result, and blood pressure is decreased.
Calcium channel blockers
This medication stops calcium from entering the heart and artery smooth muscle cells. By reducing the calcium, the contraction of the heart is less forceful. It is because calcium creates a greater and harder contraction when calcium reaches these cells. Calcium channel blockers slow down the heartbeat, relax constricted blood vessels, and lower blood pressure.
The muscle tone of the arterial walls is relaxed due to the alpha-blockers’ reduction in artery resistance.
Combined alpha and beta-blockers
For patients going through a hypertensive crisis, an IV drip of combined alpha- and beta-blockers is administered. If the patient is at risk for heart failure, they might be prescribed for outpatient high blood pressure treatment.
The ability of the blood vessels to tighten or contract is lessened by central agonists when taken. While the central agonists effectively lower blood pressure, they do so via a different neural pathway than alpha- and beta-blockers.
Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors
These drugs lower blood pressure by inhibiting brain neurotransmitters. This prevents the “message” from reaching the smooth muscles, causing them to tighten. Unless other treatments are ineffective, these medications are rarely prescribed for patients.
Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators)
Vasodilators, also known as blood vessel dilators, can relax the blood vessel muscle, especially in the arterioles, causing the vessel to enlarge. This supports better blood flow that reduced blood pressure.