Question: What are the various categories of medication to lower blood pressure and do some work better than others?
Answer: Well, there's several classes of medicines that we use to treat high blood pressure these days. We have some of the older drug categories like diuretics and beta blockers available to us. And then some of the newer categories, ACE-inhibitors, angiotension receptor blockers, calcium antagonists; recently, we've added a new category, direct renin inhibitors.
And then there are a number of other classes that we use less frequently because the evidence that they're beneficial as single drugs are less strong than these other groups.
So it's really important to realize that there's a lot of individual variability to response to different drugs. And though there's some clues that can give your health professional guidance on where to begin with treating your blood pressure, you may respond differently than other people.
And so it's important to stay engaged in a relationship with your own health professional. They may sometimes need to try two or three different kinds of drugs to see what's best for you before they decide on something.
And don't be surprised if it takes more than one drug class to keep your blood pressure controlled. Most people in the U.S. with high blood pressure actually need more than one drug category.
So all of the drugs that we use primarily for treating high blood pressure can be effective in some people, and it's important that you work hard with your health professional to get the right regimen for you to keep that blood pressure in a good range.