High Blood Pressure Medicines

What is high blood pressure?

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Normal arteries are smooth and flexible, and blood flows easily through them. As the blood moves through your arteries, it puts pressure on the artery walls. This is your blood pressure. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) occurs when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal.

How is high blood pressure treated?

High blood pressure medicines (also called antihypertensive medicines) can help lower your blood pressure. The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels with medicine that is easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. Your doctor may also talk to you about the benefits of lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active and losing weight if you're overweight.

What are some common medicines to treat high blood pressure?

There are several types of medicine used to treat high blood pressure. Your doctor will decide which type of medicine is right for you.

Do these medicines have any side effects?

All medicines have side effects. Some common side effects of high blood pressure medicines include the following:

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if your side effects become severe or bothersome.

What is a drug interaction?

If you use 2 or more drugs at the same time, the way your body processes each drug can change. When this happens, the risk of side effects from each drug increases and each drug may not work the way it should. This is called a "drug-drug interaction." Vitamins and herbal supplements can also affect the way your body processes medicine.

Certain foods or drinks can also prevent your medicine from working the way it should or make side effects worse. This is called a "drug-food interaction." For example, people taking certain CCBs may need to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice.

Be certain that your doctor knows all of the over-the-counter and prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking.

Also, ask your doctor whether you need to avoid any foods or drinks while using your blood pressure medicine.