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ARBs and Your Blood Pressure

ARBs -- also called angiotensin II receptor blockers -- is a type of high blood pressure medicine prevents blood vessels from tightening. ARBs block the action of angiotensin II, a hormone that makes blood vessels tighten. As a result, blood flows more easily through the vessels. Your blood pressure becomes lower.

Here are examples of ARBs:

  • Atacand (candesartan)
  • Avapro (irbesartan)
  • Benicar (olmesartan)
  • Cozaar (losartan)
  • Diovan (valsartan)
  • Micardis (telmisartan)
  • Teveten (eprosartan)

Calcium Channel Blockers and High Blood Pressure

Calcium channel blockers are sometimes called CCBs for short. This type of high blood pressure medicine is also called a calcium antagonist. Some CCBs keep blood vessels from tightening so much. They do this by preventing calcium from entering the muscle cells in your heart and blood vessels. Others slow your heart rate. As a result, blood can flow more easily through the vessels. This lowers your blood pressure.

Here are examples of CCBs:

  • Adalat and Procardia (nifedipine)
  • Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan, and others (verapamil)
  • Cardene (nicardipine)
  • Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, and Tiazac (diltiazem)
  • DynaCirc (isradipine)
  • Norvasc (amlodipine)
  • Plendil (felodipine)
  • Sular (nisoldipine)


Central Agonists Work on the Brain to Lower Blood Pressure

This type of high blood pressure medicine targets receptors of your brain to help lower blood pressure.

Here are some examples of central agonists:

  • Aldomet (methyldopa)
  • Catapres (clonidine)
  • Tenex (guanfacine)
  • Wytensin (guanabenz)

Peripheral-Acting Adrenergic Blockers

This type of high blood pressure medicine targets nerve impulses that tell your vessels to tighten to help lower blood pressure.

Here are some examples of peripheral-acting adrenergic blockers:

  • Hylorel (guanadrel)
  • Ismelin (guanethidine)
  • Serpasil (reserpine)

Direct Vasodilators

This type of high blood pressure medicine relaxes the muscles in your blood vessel walls. The vessels widen and blood flows through more easily. Your blood pressure lowers.

Here are some examples of direct vasodilators:

  • Apresoline (hydralazine)
  • Loniten (minoxidil)

Direct Renin Inhibitors

Direct renin inhibitors, ACE inhibitors, and ARBs all target the same process that narrows blood vessels. But each type of medicine blocks a different part of the process.

Direct renin inhibitors block the enzyme renin from triggering a process that helps regulate blood pressure. As a result, blood vessels relax and widen, making it easier for blood to flow through the vessels, which lowers blood pressure.

Tekturna (aliskiren) is a direct renin inhibitor. Tekturna can be used alone or in combination with a diuretic or other medicines for high blood pressure.

Finding the Right Combination of High Blood Pressure Medicine

Which medicines may be best for you and your high blood pressure? That depends on factors such as these:

  • The causes of your high blood pressure
  • How high your blood pressure is
  • How your body responds to different high blood pressure medicines
  • Any other health problems you might have

It may take some trial-and-error testing to find the combination of high blood pressure medicine that works best for you. Many people need more than one type of high blood pressure medicine in order to get the best results. Some of these medicines are combined into one pill.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on March 23, 2013
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