The Drugs Commonly Used to Treat Blood Pressure

Learn the Chemical and Brand Names of These Drugs

Doctor holding pills in hand
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This article attempts to provide a list of the drugs and drug combinations most commonly used in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). 

The list is quite long.

The fact that there are so many drugs to choose from means at least two things. First, there is no “best” drug for hypertension, that is, there is no drug that works well in almost everyone without causing unacceptable side effects.

If there were, drug companies would have stopped their efforts to develop new antihypertensive drugs long ago — and this list would be much shorter. Second, with so many drugs to choose from, as long as you and your doctor are patient and persistent, it is extremely likely that an effective and well-tolerated treatment regimen can be found for almost anyone with hypertension.

Choosing the “Right” Drug

With so many different medications available for treating hypertension, doctors generally use a systematic approach to selecting optimal therapy.

The medications that are effective in treating hypertension fall into five major categories:

For people who have been diagnosed with mild or moderate hypertension, doctors usually begin by recommending important lifestyle changes, including dietary changessalt restrictionregular exercise, and smoking cessation.

If these lifestyle measures do not result in sufficient blood pressure control, drug therapy is usually begun. 

In people with mild or moderate hypertension, drug therapy is almost always started by prescribing a single drug — typically a diuretic, a calcium blocker, or an ACE inhibitor.

If the initial therapy does not work, usually a drug from a different category is substituted.

If that is also ineffective, combination therapy is tried.

Here is an in-depth discussion of how most doctors go about finding the best treatment for a person with hypertension.

Listing the Most Commonly Used Hypertension Drugs

In the following lists, the generic name of each drug is listed first, followed by the trade names.

Diuretics

Diuretics ("water pills") increase the amount of sodium and water excreted into the urine by the kidneys. It is thought that they lower blood pressure mainly by reducing the volume of fluid in the blood vessels.

Diuretics commonly used for hypertension:

  • Acetazolamide - Diamox
  • Chlorthalidone - Thalidone, also sold as Tenoretic and Clorpres
  • Hydrochlorothiazide - HydroDiuril, also sold as Microzide and Esidrix
  • Indapamide - Lozol
  • Metolazone - Zaroxolyn, also sold as Mykrox

Diuretics less commonly used for hypertension:

  • Amiloride hydrochloride - Midamor
  • Bumetanide - Bumex
  • Ethacrynic acid - Edecrin
  • Furosemide - Lasix
  • Spironolactone - Aldactone
  • Torsemide - Demadex
  • Triamterene - Dyrenium

Beta-blockers

Beta blockers block the effect of adrenaline on the cardiovascular system, slow the heart rate, and reduce stress on the heart and the arteries.

  • Acebutolol - Sectral
  • Atenolol - Tenormin
  • Betaxolol - Kerlone
  • Bisoprolol - Zebeta, also sold as Ziac
  • Carteolol - Cartrol
  • Carvedilol - Coreg
  • Labetalol - Normodyne, also sold as Trandate
  • Metoprolol - Lopressor, also sold as Toprol
  • Nadolol - Corgard
  • Penbutolol - Levatol
  • Propranolol - Inderal, Inderal LA
  • Timolol - Blocadren

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers can reduce blood pressure by dilating the arteries and, in some cases, reducing the force of the heart's contractions.

  • Amlodipine - Norvasc, also sold as Caduet and Lotrel
  • Diltiazem - Cardizem, also sold as Dilacor and Tiazac
  • Felodipine - Plendil
  • Isradipine - DynaCirc
  • Nicardipine - Cardene
  • Nifedipine - Procardia XL, also sold as Adalat
  • Nisoldipine - Sular
  • Verapamil hydrochloride - Isoptin, also sold as Calan, Verelan, and Covera

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

The angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (the "ACE inhibitors") can lower blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

  • Benazepril - Lotensin
  • Captopril - Capoten
  • Enalapril - Vasotec, also sold as Vaseretic
  • Fosinopril - Monopril
  • Lisinopril - Prinivil, also sold as Zestril
  • Moexipril - Univasc
  • Quinapril - Accupril
  • Ramipril - Altace
  • Trandolapril - Mavik

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

The angiotensin II receptor blockers (the "ARBs") also reduce blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

  • Candesartan - Atacand
  • Irbesartan - Avapro
  • Losartan - Cozaar
  • Telmisartan - Micardis
  • Valsartan - Diovan

Other, Less Commonly Used Hypertension Drugs

  • Clonidine - Catapres
  • Doxazosin - Cardura
  • Guanabenz - Wytensin
  • Guanfacine - Tenex
  • Hydralazine hydrochloride - Apresoline
  • Methyldopa - Aldomet
  • Prazosin - Minipress
  • Reserpine - Serpasil
  • Terazosin - Hytrin

Combination Drugs For Hypertension

Numerous combination drugs have been marketed for hypertension, and it is almost impossible to keep track of new ones that come along, or old ones that fade away. The following is a reasonably complete and up to date list of the most commonly prescribed combination drugs used for hypertension.

  • Amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide - Moduretic
  • Amlodipine and benazepril - Lotrel
  • Atenolol and chlorthalidone - Tenoretic
  • Benazepril and hydrochlorothiazide - Lotensin HCT
  • Bisoprolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Ziac
  • Captopril and hydrochlorothiazide - Capozide
  • Enalapril and hydrochlorothiazide - Vaseretic
  • Felodipine and enalapril - Lexxel
  • Hydralazine and hydrochlorothiazide - Apresazide
  • Lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide - Prinzide, also sold as Zestoretic
  • Losartan and hydrochlorothiazide - Hyzaar
  • Methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide - Aldoril
  • Metoprolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Lopressor HCT
  • Nadolol and bendroflumethiazide - Corzide
  • Propranolol and hydrochlorothiazide - Inderide
  • Spironolactone and hydrochlorothiazide - Aldactazide
  • Triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide - Dyazide, also sold as Maxide
  • Verapamil extended release) and trandolapril - Tarka

A Word From Verywell

Hypertension is an extremely common medical problem that can have severe consequences if it is not treated adequately. However, with so many treatment options, a therapeutic regimen can be found for virtually everyone with hypertension that will greatly decrease the risk of a bad outcome, without disrupting everyday life.

Sources:

Mancia G, Fagard R, Narkiewicz K, et al. 2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension: the Task Force for the management of arterial hypertension of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). J Hypertens 2013; 31:1281.

Weber MA, Schiffrin EL, White WB, et al. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Hypertension in the Community a Statement by the American Society of Hypertension and the International Society of Hypertension. J Hypertens 2014; 32:3.

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