I Have Heard That Some Blood Pressure Medications Have Other Benefits. Should I Be Taking Those?

Question: I have heard that some blood pressure-lowering medications have other benefits. Should I be taking those medications instead?

Answer: Well, we've got a lot of medicines that treat high blood pressure -- well over a hundred. And, many of these medicines have dual properties, they double and have other facets of things that they do. So first and foremost, we try and get the blood pressure where it should be, which is typically below 130/80.

But when you've got heart disease -- whether it be heart failure, a previous heart attack -- there are drugs which have been proven to prolong survival after the event. The drug classes I speak to include three: a drug class called ace inhibitors, another called angiotensin receptor blockers, and the third is beta blockers.

Now, these drugs are very useful in the high risk patient -- but many people aren't high risk per se, so you don't just change your regimen and adopt therapy with these drugs if things are going well already. So these drugs are very useful when you've had an event, and you want to prevent a second event. For primary prevention, having excellent blood pressure control can't be trumped sometimes, so we don't just change regimens willy-nilly in order to get one of these drugs on board.

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