Antihypertensive Agents

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See also the following drug classes and individual drugs:

Agents Acting Directly on Vascular Smooth Muscle

Hydralazine hydrochloride Alpha-1-Adrenergic Blocking Agents Doxazosin mesylate Prazosin hydrochloride Terazosin

Angiotensin-II Antagonists Irbesartan Losartan potassium Valsartan

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

Benazepril hydrochloride Captopril Enalapril maleate Fosinopril sodium

Beta-Adrenergic Blocking Agents

Calcium Channel Blocking Agents Amlodipine

Diltiazem hydrochloride



Nicardipine hydrochloride




Centrally-Acting Agents Clonidine hydrochloride Methyldopa

Combination Drugs Used for Hypertension

Triamterene and

Hydrochlorothiazide Miscellaneous Agents


Labetalol hydrochloride

Minoxidil, oral General Statement: The Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure classifies BP for adults aged 18 and over as follows: Optimal as <120/<80 mm Hg, Normal as <130/<85 mm Hg, High Normal as 130-139/85-89 mm Hg, Stage 1 Hypertension as 140-159/90-99 mm Hg, Stage 2 Hypertension as 160-179/100-109 mm Hg, and Stage 3 Hypertension as 180 or greater/110 or greater mm Hg. Drug therapy is recommended depending on the BP and whether certain risk factors (e.g., smoking, dyslipidemia, diabetes, age, gender, target organ damage, clinical CV disease) are present. Life-style modification is an important component of treating hypertension, including weight reduction, reduction of sodium intake, regular exercise, cessation of smoking, and moderate alcohol intake.

The goal of antihypertensive therapy is a BP of <140/90 mm Hg, except in hypertensive diabetics where the goal is <135/85 mm Hg and those with renal insufficiency where the goal is <130/85 mm Hg. Generally speaking, the primary agents for initial monotherapy to treat uncomplicated hypertension are diuretics and beta blockers. Alternative drugs include ACE inhibitors, alpha-1 blockers, alpha-beta blocker, and calcium antagonists.

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