Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to stop or slow some of the body’s functions that cause high blood pressure.
Medicines to lower blood pressure include:
Diuretics (Water or Fluid Pills): Flush excess sodium from your body, which reduces the amount of fluid in your blood and helps to lower your blood pressure.
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. As a result, your heart pumps less blood through your blood vessels, which can help to lower your blood pressure.
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors: Angiotensin-II is a hormone that narrows blood vessels, increasing blood pressure.
ACE converts Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II. ACE inhibitors block this process, which stops the production of Angiotensin II, lowering blood pressure.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs): Block angiotensin II hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels.
When angiotensin II is blocked, the blood vessels do not constrict or narrow, which can lower your blood pressure.
Calcium Channel Blockers: Keep calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels. This allows blood vessels to relax, which can lower your blood pressure.
Alpha Blockers: Reduce nerve impulses that tighten blood vessels. This allows blood to flow more freely, causing blood pressure to go down.
Alpha-Beta Blockers: Reduce nerve impulses the same way alpha blockers do. However, like beta blockers, they also slow the heartbeat. As a result, blood pressure goes down.
Central Acting Agents: Act in the brain to decrease nerve signals that narrow blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure.
Vasodilators: Relax the muscles in blood vessel walls, which can lower blood pressure.
To lower and control blood pressure, many people take two or more medicines. If you have side effects from your medicines, don’t stop taking your medicines.
Instead, talk with your health care provider about the side effects to see if the dose can be changed or a new medicine prescribed.
Scientists, doctors, and researchers continue to study the changes that cause high blood pressure, to develop new medicines and treatments to control high blood pressure.
Possible future treatments under investigation include new combination medicines, vaccines, and interventions aimed at the sympathetic nervous system, such as kidney nerve ablation.