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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Medications

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Medications Used to Treat High Blood Pressure continued...


Beta-blockers make your heart beat less forcefully and more slowly. These medications may cause side effects such as:

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

These high blood pressure medications block formation of a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow, so vessels relax. ACE inhibitors may cause these side effects:

  • A dry, hacking cough that doesn't go away. If you have this side effect, the doctor may prescribe another type of medication.
  • Skin rash and a loss of taste are two other possible side effects of ACE inhibitors.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

These high blood pressure medications shield blood vessels from a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow. This allows blood vessels to stay open. One of the more common side effects of ARBs is dizziness.

Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)

These high blood pressure medications keep calcium from entering heart muscle and blood vessel cells. Blood vessels can then relax. CCBs may cause these side effects:


Alpha-blockers reduce nerve impulses to blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. These medications may cause:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness when standing up suddenly or getting up in the morning (from reduced blood pressure)
  • Fast heart rate

Alpha-2 Receptor Agonist

This high blood pressure medication decreases activity in the adrenaline-producing part of the nervous system. It may cause drowsiness or dizziness.


These high blood pressure medications reduce nerve impulses and also slow the heartbeat. Patients with severe high blood pressure often receive them by intravenous (IV) injection. But the doctor may also prescribe these medications for people who have congestive heart failure. Alpha-beta blockers may cause a drop in blood pressure when you stand up suddenly or first get up in the morning. This can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness.

Central Agonists

These high blood pressure medications control nerve impulses, relaxing blood vessels.

Central agonists may cause:

  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness when standing up suddenly or getting up in the morning (from a drop in blood pressure)
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Erection problems
  • Fever

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