A drug used to lower excessively high blood pressure. The term hypertension denotes blood pressure above the normal range. It does not refer to excessive nervous or emotional tension. The term antihypertensive is sometimes used erroneously as if it had the same meaning as antianxiety (or tranquilizing) drug action.

Today there are more than 100 drug products in use for treating hypertension. Those most frequently prescribed for long-term use fall into three major groups:

Regardless of their mode of action, all these drugs share an ability to lower the blood pressure. It is important to remember that many other drugs can interact with antihypertensive drugs: some add to their effect and cause excessive reduction in blood pressure; others interfere with their action and reduce their effectiveness. Anyone who is taking medications for hypertension should consult with his or her physician whenever drugs are prescribed for the treatment of other conditions as well.

--From The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs

Antihypertensives are medications used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).


Brand/Generic Drug Names

benazepril, quinapril, losartan, telmisartan, clonidine, guanabenz, methyldopa, prazosin, reserpine, diazoxide, hydralazine, minoxidil, nitroprusside, labetalol
Common uses
hypertension, heart failure not responsive to conventional therapy, hypertensive crisis, angina, some dysrhythmias
ACE inhibitors: suppress renin-angiotensin conversion, vasodilate
Centrally acting adrenergics: inhibit sympathetic vasomotor center in central nervous system decreasing blood pressure, pulse, cardiac output
Peripherally acting adrenergics: inhibit sympathetic vasoconstriction by inhibiting release of norepinephrine/depleting norepinephrine stores
Vasodilators: produce relaxation of arteriolar smooth muscle causing decrease in blood pressure, increase in pulse and cardiac output
Class contraindications
allergy, heart block, children
Class precautions
elderly, dialysis, hypovolemia, leukemia, electrolyte imbalances
varies by drug
Adverse Reactions
hypotension, bradycardia, tachycardia, headache, nausea, vomiting, may vary
Additional Information
Assess blood, renal studies
Assess for edema, signs of congestive heart failure, renal symptoms
Evaluate therapeutic response: decreased blood pressure, edema, moist rales
Date of most recent Update
August 07, 2002
Further information is available in the writeup for the specific name(s) of this medication class

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.