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Healthy Heart Reports

Drugs Of Choice For High Blood Pressure

Several recent studies show that the drugs of choice to treat high blood pressure for most North Americans are calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor antagonists(1).

The American Heart Association recommends beta blockers and diuretics as first-line treatment for people with high blood pressure. Beta blockers can cause impotence, tiredness at rest and during exercise, weight gain, and they increase risk for diabetes (2). Diuretics make you tired.

Several recent studies have recommended different combinations and the combination with the fewest side effects includes a calcium channel blocker and angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Long-acting calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels, while angiotensin II receptor antagonists block a blood vessel-constricting hormone released by the kidneys.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, go on the DASH diet (see report #8614) and start an exercise program to help you lose weight. If that doesn't reduce your blood pressure to normal, I think that the drugs of choice are angiotensin II receptor antagonists. If your blood pressure is still high, add a calcium channel blocker.

BETA BLOCKERS: Betapace, Blocadren, Brevibloc, Cartrol, Inderal, Kerlone, Levatol, Lopressor, Sectral, Tenormin, Toprol, Zebeta.
CALCIUM CHANNEL BLOCKERS: Adalat, Calan, Cardizem, Covera, Dilacor, DynaCirc, Isoptin, Nimotop Norvasc, Plendil, Procardia, Sular, Tiazac, Vascor, Verelan
ALPHA BLOCKERS: Cardura, Dibenzyline, Hytrin, Minipres.

1) DA Edelman, RA Paul. Does combination therapy with a calcium channel blocker and an ace inhibitor have additive effects on blood pressure reduction? International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2000, Vol 54, Iss 2, pp 105-109.

2) NEJM March 30, 2000.

3) JAMA. 2000;283:1967-1975

4/11/00updated 6/7/01

Copyright 2000
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

For more recipes, refer to the The Healthy Heart Miracle book.