The majority of high blood pressure medications are considered safe, although some side effects may be experienced with certain medications. Individuals who also have other health problems should take specific types of medications that will address all conditions. Also, some types of blood pressure medicines are not appropriate for older patients. Fill in a doctor about any other health problems you have and ask questions if there are any concerns over possible, but rare, side effects.
Diuretics are water pills that lower blood pressure by flushing out the amount of sodium that is present in the body. Excessive amounts of sodium tend to lead to water retention, which puts pressure on the walls of the arteries. Thus, diuretics also work to prevent strokes and heart attacks from occurring. Diuretics are generally considered safe, but only for those who do not have accompanying health problems. They are the most common form of blood pressure medication and are also the least expensive. Examples of diuretics include Aldactone, Dyrenium, Esidrix and Lasix.
Beta blockers help to prevent heart attacks by reducing the need for the heart to help produce oxygen-rich blood cells. Beta blockers have been considered a safe medicine since their birth in the 1970s. They are a popular choice because they are relatively inexpensive compared to other types, but there have been reported side effects, which makes some people question their safety. According to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, side effects may include: a worsening of asthma symptoms, depression, fatigue, leg cramps, sleep problems and sexual dysfunction. Speak with a doctor about any concerns over such medication, especially if any of these side effects are being experienced. Name brands of beta blockers include Blocadern, Inderal, Kerlone, Lopressor, Tenormin and Toprol.
Alpha-blockers work by relaxing muscles throughout the body that can prevent blood flow, thus leading to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. They also work to reduce fats in the blood that can cause arterial wall build-up. Brands include Cardura and Hytrin. Alpha-blockers are generally safe to use.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers reduce high blood pressure by increasing the amount of oxygen that goes to the heart. This is accomplished by decreasing calcium amounts from being absorbed by muscles, which helps to loosen up blood vessels and increase flow to the heart. Calcium channel blockers also relieve a patient of angina, which is a type of chest pain that occurs when the heart does not receive sufficient amounts of blood. Examples of calcium channel blockers include Adalat, Calan, Cardizem, Dilacor, DynaCirc, Isoptin, Norvasc, Plendil, Procardia, Tiazac and Verelan. All are generally considered to be safe.
These medications relax muscles in blood vessel walls, which help to widen the blood vessels and allow for increased blood flow. Brand examples include Aceon, Avapro, Capoten, Catapres, Cozaar, Diovan, Micardis, Minipress and various forms of nitroglycerin. These are deemed safe for individuals who do not have other health problems besides high blood pressure.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors lower high blood pressure by directly blocking hormones in the body that make blood vessels constrict. ACE-Inhibitors are the safe choice of high blood pressure medication for diabetics and those with kidney problems, because the enzymes protect the kidney from adversely affecting the blood. Examples include Accupril, Altace, Lotensin, Mavik, Monopril, Univasc and Vasotec.