Last updated: August 11, 2021

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High blood pressure medications can effectively lower blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For hardly any other disease is there such a diverse range of medications available to patients, and there are numerous products on the market. However, this diverse selection can also cause difficulties in making a decision. With this hypertension medication test 2021 we inform you about the most important types of medication that you can choose from when buying. The most important thing is the active ingredient contained in the medication, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. To make your decision easier, we have compared different products with each other.




The most important

  • High blood pressure medication should be taken if the blood pressure is permanently above 140/90 mmHg on average, despite lifestyle changes.
  • When choosing the perfect medication, the group of active ingredients plays an important role. Each group includes many drugs with different advantages and disadvantages.
  • Many hypertension medications have some side effects and are not compatible with every patient. There are several agents that can be used to lower blood pressure in a natural way.

The Best High blood pressure medicines: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for high blood pressure medication

If you are looking for the right hypertension medication for you, you will come across various forms and offers. The criteria you should look for when making your choice are:

In the following section, we will go through these criteria one by one and explain what to look for when buying.

Dosage form

The dosage form indicates the form in which the medication must be taken. Hypertension medications can be found in four different dosage forms:

  • Film-coated tablets: have a hardened and very smooth surface. In this form, tablets are easier to swallow and slip better. Depending on the strength, they always contain the same amount of active ingredient and have a long shelf life.
  • Capsules: have a shell made of gelatine that contains the active ingredient either in powder, granules or liquid. In this form, the medicine only dissolves in the stomach and releases the active ingredient there.
  • Drops: this form is taken orally and does not need to dissolve in the stomach. Drops allow exact dosage and have a very fast effect.
  • Granules: consists of dry and solid grains. This can be dissolved in water before oral intake.

Each dosage form has its advantages and disadvantages, so you should make your decision based on your own preferences and experience. On the market, you will most often find film-coated tablets or capsules.

Active ingredients

Depending on the symptoms associated with high blood pressure, different groups of active ingredients are used. These can be present individually in the medicines or combined with other active substances. There are a total of nine groups of active ingredients and over 50 active ingredients that belong to the category 'antihypertensives'. We have selected the most important ones for you in the following table.

Type Properties Drug group
Amlodipine Dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure Calcium antagonists
Bisoprolol Weakens the effect of andrenaline and slows the heart rate Beta blockers
Candersatan Blood pressure lowering AT-1 receptor antagonists
Ramipril Blood pressure lowering ACE inhibitors
Valtarsan Alternative to ACE inhibitors Renin inhibitors

Although all drugs help to regulate high blood pressure, there are some differences between the various drug groups. Because there are so many to choose from, it is worth spending some time getting to know the different agents better so that the best decision can be made.

Package size

Depending on the dosage of the active ingredients and the dosage form, different pack sizes are available for high blood pressure medicines. In most cases, you will find packs of 60 or multiples of 60 capsules on the market. Depending on the pack size, you will also find different prices. So before you buy, think about how often you will need to take the medicine and how much you expect to need for a certain period of time. As for other dosage forms, drops are usually available in bottles of 50 or 100 ml and tablets in similar sizes to capsules.

Guide: Questions to ask yourself before buying high blood pressure medication

Before you buy hypertension medication, there is some information you should know before you make your decision. We have picked out the most important questions on the topic and answered them briefly for you.

What is special about high blood pressure medications and what advantages do they offer?

High blood pressure medicines are all medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure. They should be taken especially when lifestyle changes are not enough to lower the high blood pressure.

Your blood pressure is measured by a doctor. He can prescribe appropriate medication. (Image source: Hush Naidoo / unsplash)

Blood pressure is said to be high when the upper value is above 140 and the lower value is above 90. The special thing about high blood pressure medicines is that they can lower blood pressure through different active substances. These active substances react to several factors that regulate blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it is necessary to take measures to regulate your blood pressure throughout your life. Taking medication is one of the most successful steps, as it can prevent potentially life-threatening secondary diseases such as heart attacks, heart failure or strokes.

What types of high blood pressure medications are there?

High blood pressure medications are divided into different types or groups of active ingredients depending on how they work. Each type is then available in different forms. To help you decide, we have listed these types and their advantages and disadvantages.

Diuretics

Diuretics are also known as water tablets because they help the body eliminate excess water and salt. Reducing the amount of water relieves the heart and lowers blood pressure.

Advantages
  • Excretion of salt and water
  • Decrease in blood fluid volume and quantity
  • Vessel widening
Disadvantages
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Low blood potassium levels

Diuretics can also be combined in low doses with other high blood pressure medicines.

Beta-blockers

These medicines reduce the effect of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the body, slowing down the heartbeat. This also lowers blood pressure at the same time.

Advantages
  • Slow down the heartbeat
  • Protect the heart from stress hormones
  • Life-prolonging
Disadvantages
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • drowsiness
  • erectile dysfunction
  • slows pulse
  • affects sugar metabolism

Diabetics should be careful with such a drug as they are prone to hypoglycaemia.

Calcium antagonists

Calcium antagonists or calcium channel blockers prevent vasoconstriction by inhibiting the action of calcium in the muscle cells of the vessel walls. Numerous versions with a similar mode of action are available on the market.

Advantages
  • Inhibit calcium
  • relax muscle and lower pressure in the heart
  • vasodilator
Disadvantages
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Swelling of ankles

These medicines are described as very effective and are easy to combine with other high blood pressure medicines.

ACE inhibitors

This type of medication prevents the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotesin II, the substance that increases blood pressure. Reducing this substance then has the effect of lowering blood pressure.

Advantages
  • Preventing the formation of angiotensin II
Disadvantages
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased potassium levels in the blood

ACE inhibitors also cause the kidneys to excrete more salt and water.

AT-1 receptor antagonists

Drugs in this group work differently from ACE inhibitors, but achieve the same result by dilating the blood vessels.

Advantages
  • Blocking effects of angiotensin II
Disadvantages
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased potassium levels

AT-1 antagonists are often reported to be very well tolerated and are recommended as an alternative to ACE inhibitors when these are not tolerated by the patient.

Renin inhibitors

With the help of the enzyme renin, these drugs inhibit the conversion of angiotensinogen to angiotensin I. This prevents the vessels from narrowing at an early stage.

Advantages
  • Attack the hormone synthesis of angiotensin II at an early stage
  • lower blood pressure
Disadvantages
  • Very rarely skin rashes and diarrhoea

For whom are high blood pressure medications suitable?

Mild high blood pressure does not necessarily have to be treated immediately with medication. Often it is enough to make certain lifestyle changes, such as aiming for a normal weight, exercising more and eating a healthier diet. If these measures are not enough, you can consider taking medication. However, you should first consider whether such treatment makes sense for you, as this decision is also influenced by other factors. In particular, you should be careful about the following factors:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Advanced age
  • High cholesterol

High blood pressure Medication is necessary if your blood pressure is permanently above 140/90 mmHg, despite non-medication. However, the decision also depends on whether there are additional risk factors. In the end, you should evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of medication for yourself.

What are the side effects of high blood pressure medication?

Therapy with high blood pressure medications can have undesirable side effects. With many medications, patients often get an irritating cough, digestive problems and swollen legs. All active substances cause the following side effects in most cases:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, drop in blood pressure
  • Allergies and skin reactions
  • Gastrointestinal complaints

With the individual groups of active substances, specific side effects can also occur, which we have already listed above. In addition, the risk of side effects increases if patients take other medicines with different active ingredients over time. If you feel that you are not tolerating a medicine, you should never stop taking it or change the dosage. Inform your doctor immediately so that you can find a solution together. In many cases, side effects can be reduced or eliminated by changing the active ingredient or the dosage. It is not uncommon to have to try a few different medications to find the perfect one.

How do I take high blood pressure medication correctly?

The question of how and especially when to take hypertension medication often arises. Since blood pressure is usually particularly high in the morning, you should take your medication in the morning. However, high blood pressure is individual to each person and depends on their internal clock. For this reason, it is advisable to take a 24-hour measurement to find out the perfect individual time. Here you have to wear a blood pressure monitor for one day. Afterwards, the data collected will show your type of hypertension and, above all, when the medication should best be taken.

Which high blood pressure medicines are best?

There are hardly any other diseases for which there are as many medicines as there are for high blood pressure. Therefore, the choice of a suitable medication depends on different conditions, as all active substances have their advantages and disadvantages.
Age, gender or previous illnesses influence the effect of the medication.

The choice of the appropriate medication is influenced by a number of factors. These include, for example, age, gender or previous illnesses such as coronary heart disease or heart failure. For women of childbearing age with high blood pressure, the choice depends on which agents are not harmful in case of pregnancy. In some cases, one antihypertensive drug is enough to lower blood pressure, while others need a combination of different ones. A combination can increase the blood pressure-lowering effect because the drugs target different parts of the body.

What natural supplements are available as an alternative to high blood pressure medication?

Certain natural supplements can also be used to lower high blood pressure, such as vitamins, minerals or special plant extracts. The most common ones are listed in the following table.
Type Properties
Folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 Blood pressure lowering
L-arginine Blood vessel widening
Coenzyme Q-10 Lowers blood pressure gradually
Magnesium Has a relaxing and decongestant effect on the blood vessels

These products are particularly suitable for people who cannot tolerate certain medicines or do not want to take certain risks when taking medicines. They can also be very effective for patients with low blood pressure.

Conclusion

If you have high blood pressure, the right medication can significantly improve your life and reduce the risk of future disease. The drug class plays the decisive role here and a large number of drugs are now available on the market. However, many medications have unpleasant disadvantages that make it difficult to find the right therapy for you. If you don't want to take the risks of regular medications, there are also many natural supplements that have a blood pressure lowering effect.

Photo source: Kurhan / 123rf

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