Do All High Blood Pressure Medications Have Side Effects?

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Question: Do All High Blood Pressure Medications Have Side Effects?

A question from a reader: Dr. Mike, Do all high blood pressure drugs have low heart beat, fatigue, and depression as possible side effects? If so which drug is least likely to cause these side effects – Norvasc or Teveten?


There are several classes (or types) of medications used to treat high blood pressure and all of them do have side effects.

Since all of these medications affect the heart and blood vessels, it is not unusual for some people who take them to have changes in their heart beat. However, some of these medications may cause the heart rate to slow, while others can cause the heart rate to be irregular or fast. Fatigue is also a frequently mentioned side effect for many of the medications used to treat high blood pressure.

Although depression can be a side effect of some of the blood pressure medications (including Teveten), it is not as common as some of the other side effects. When I looked at some of the online write-ups of the medications, I did not find any mention of depression. However, some of the medications can cause sexual problems. That, coupled with fatigue, can be depressing.

Norvasc and Teveten belong to two different classes of blood pressure medications. Both medications have a number of side effects but they differ somewhat.

I’ve listed below some of the more common side effects for each:

Norvasc side effects:

  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • headache
  • upset stomach
  • stomach pain
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • excessive tiredness
  • flushing (feeling of warmth)
  • more frequent or more severe chest pain
  • rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • fainting

Teveten side effects:

  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • excessive tiredness
  • stomach pain
  • joint pain
  • depression
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • fainting
  • decreased sexual ability

It is also impossible to predict for any given individual what their chances are of getting any of these side effects (or others not listed). Many people have no side effects while others are sensitive. Unfortunately, some people stop taking their blood pressure medications if they have side effects, especially since high blood pressure often does not cause any symptoms.

Personally, I went through three different classes of blood pressure medications until I found one that did not cause any problems for me. However, I have friends who were prescribed the medication I’m currently taking, and they have had numerous side effects.

The bottom line is for you to be as knowledgeable as you can about your options and work closely with your doctor to select a medication that will control your high blood pressure with a minimal amount of side effects.

More Information from Dr. Mike:

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