What is the Most Popular Medication for High Blood Pressure – Overview
High blood pressure (hypertension) affects almost 1/3rd Americans. This condition exerts excessive force on the arteries as blood is pumped through them. This causes damage to the blood vessels and the connected organs that are forced to bear excessive stress.
Blood pressure is measured using two parameters – systolic and diastolic pressures. These parameters help to measure the maximum pressure exerted on the arteries and the minimum pressure during cardiac contraction, respectively.
For adults, the normal range for systolic blood pressure is between 90 and 120, while the normal diastolic range for blood pressure is between 60 and 80.
What Are the Most Common Medications for High Blood Pressure?
The top-selling high blood pressure medicines in the United States are:
- Valsartan (Diovan) – angiotensin II receptor-blocker
- Metoprolol – beta-blocker
- Generic combination of Valsartan and HCTZ
- Mix of HCTZ and olmesartan
The top 4 most-prescribed medicines for high blood pressure in the US are:
- Lisinoprol (Zestril, Prinivil)
- Amlodipine besylate (Norvasc)
- Calcium channel blocker
- Generic HCTZ (hydrochlorothriazide)
Which Is the Best Medication for High Blood Pressure?
This question is subjective, as the effectiveness of high blood pressure medicines usually depends on several factors. For instance, doctors consider the patient’s overall health status, age, ethnicity, gender and if they have any co-existing medical problems or sensitivity to specific medications.
So, if a patient with asthma suffers from hypertension, doctors will normally avoid prescribing beta-blockers, as these medicines can aggravate the respiratory condition.
In the same way, for patients who are vulnerable to constipation (such as elderly patients), doctors will usually avoid prescribing calcium channel blockers and diuretics as these drugs can inhibit proper bowel movement.
Similarly, African-American patients have usually been prescribed antihypertensive medications as they respond to this drug better than others.
List of Popular High Blood Pressure Medicines in the US
High blood pressure medications are classified into 1 of 10 classifications, such as:
3. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
4. ACE inhibitors
5. Calcium channel blockers
Each of these medications works differently to lower high blood pressure in patients. Let’s take a detailed look at these different types of popular medications for high blood pressure:
Diuretics work to increase urination, which in turn, reduces sodium and fluid in the body. This helps to lower blood pressure as it decreases the blood volume in blood vessels. These medications are ideal for treating mild hypertension alone, but they are often combined with other high blood pressure medicines.
Some of the popular examples of diuretic high-blood pressure medications include:
- Bumex (Bumetanide)
- Hygroton (Chlorothalidone)
- Diuril (Chlorothiazine )
- Edecrin (Ethacrynate)
- Lasix (Furosemide)
- Hydrodiuril/Esidrix/Microzide (Hydrochlorothiazide/HCTZ)
- Lozol (Indapamide)
- Zaroxolyn/Mykroz (Metolazone)
- Enduron (Methyclothiazide)
- Demadex (Torsemide)
Diuretics may have side effects, such as loss of potassium, which is otherwise essential for proper muscular movement. A deficiency of potassium in the body may cause the patient to experience leg cramps, weakness, fatigue and even heart problems. Therefore, if a patient is prescribed a diuretic to control high blood pressure, they are also advised to have potassium-rich food to ensure adequate potassium levels in the body.
Beta-blockers work to lower blood pressure by directly acting on the heart. These medications reduce the heartbeat and force of pumping and blood volume in the blood vessels. Some of the most popular beta-blocker hypertension medications include:
- Sectral (Acebutolol)
- Tenormin (Atenolol)
- Coreg (Carvedilol)
- Zebeta (Bisoprolol fumarate)
- Brevibloc (Esmolol)
- Trandate/Normodyne (Labetalol)
- Lopressor (Metoprolol tartarate)
- Corgard (Nadolol)
- Levatol (Penbutolol sulfate)
- Inderal (Propranolol)
- Betapace (Sotalol)
- Ziac (HCTZ+Bisoprolol)
Angiotensin hormone causes blood vessels to get narrower. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors lower the production of angiotensin, which helps lower blood pressure. Some of the most popular ACE inhibitors to counter high blood pressure are:
- Lotensin (Benazepril)
- Capoten (Captopril)
- Vasotec (Enalapril Maleate)
- Monopril (Fosinopril sodium)
- Zestril/Prinivil (Lisinopril)
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers
Angiotensin, as mentioned above, works to narrow the blood vessels. This is where angiotensin II receptor blockers are helpful. They prevent angiotensin from binding to receptors on the blood vessels, which helps to lower blood pressure. Some of the most commonly-used angiotensin II receptor blocker medications for treating high blood pressure are:
- Edarbi (Azilsartan)
- Atacand (Candesartan)
- Teveten (Eprosartan mesylate)
- Avapro (Irbesartan)
- Cozaar (Losartan Potassium)
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium is necessary to increase the strength and force of heart contractions and blood vessels. Blocking its entry into smooth muscle tissue lowers this effect. Calcium channel blockers relax the blood vessels and reduce your heartbeat rate to control excessively high blood pressure. Some of the most popular calcium channel blocker medications for hypertension include:
- Lotrel/Norvasc (Almodipine besylate)
- Tiazac/Dilacor XR/Cardizem SR/Cardizem CD (Diltiazem hydrochloride)
- Plendil (Felodipine)
- DynaCirc/DynaCirc CR (Isradipine)
- Cardene SR (Nicardipine)
Certain high blood pressure medications are prohibited for pregnant women as these may end up harming the mother and developing the fetus. Hence, doctors do not prescribe ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, etc. to prevent harm to the mother and unborn child.
Make sure to consult and follow your physician’s instructions diligently to get the most out of your high blood pressure medication.