Types of Blood Pressure Medications

Some of the major types of commonly prescribed cardiovascular medications are summarized in this section. For your information and reference, we have included generic names as well as major trade names to help you identify what you may be taking; however, the AHA is not recommending or endorsing any specific products. If your prescription medication isn't on this list, remember that your healthcare provider and pharmacist are your best sources of information. It's important to discuss all of the drugs you take with your doctor and understand their desired effects and possible side effects. Never stop taking a medication and never change your dose or frequency without first consulting your doctor.
The classes of blood pressure medications include:
Diuretics help the body get rid of excess sodium (salt) and water and help control blood pressure. They are often used in combination with additional prescription therapies.
Generic nameCommon brand names
hydrochlorothiazideEsidrix*, Hydrodiuril*, Microzide*
metolazoneMykrox*, Zaroxolyn*
Potassium-sparing diuretics
amiloride hydrochlorideMidamar*
Loop diuretic
Combination diuretics
amiloride hydrochloride + hydrochlorothiazideModuretic*
spironolactone + hydrochlorothiazideAldactazide*
triamterene + hydrochlorothiazideDyazide*, Maxzide*
Some noted possible side effects from diuretics:

  • Some of these drugs may decrease your body's supply of the mineral potassium. Symptoms such as weakness, leg cramps or being tired may result. Eating foods containing potassium may help prevent significant potassium loss. If your doctor recommends it, you could prevent potassium loss by taking a liquid or tablet that has potassium along with the diuretic. Diuretics such as amiloride (Midamar)*, spironolactone (Aldactone)* or triamterene (Dyrenium)* are called "potassium sparing" agents. They don't cause the body to lose potassium. They might be prescribed alone, but are usually used with another diuretic. Some of these combinations are Aldactazide*, Dyazide*, Maxzide* or Moduretic*.
  • Some people suffer from attacks of gout after prolonged treatment with diuretics. This side effect isn't common and can be managed by other treatment.
  • People with diabetes may find that diuretic drugs increase their blood sugar level. A change in medication, diet, insulin or oral anti-diabetic dosage corrects this in most cases. Most of the time the degree of increase in blood sugar isn't much. Your doctor may change your treatment.
  • Impotence may also occur in a small percentage of people.


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