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Drug Therapy For High Blood Pressure – Are The Side Effects Worth It?

Written by Wellness Club on January 22, 2008 – 6:30 pm -

Questions about blood pressure and drugs used to control blood pressure are common here – we get them often. Big Pharma is constantly working to have Big Medicine declare lower and lower blood pressures to be “normal” – meaning that anyone with readings above that “normal” becomes a candidate for a lifetime of expensive drug therapy. It used to be that 120/80 was the norm, now it is being proposed that 115/75 should be considered the “gold standard” above which drugs should be prescribed.

Warren wrote recently with the following comments and question:

I am currently taking medicine for high blood pressure. It is reducing my energy level. Anything I can do to restore my energy would be a blessing. I am 65, but I work out 5 times a week.

Warren, as you know, these drugs are not without side effects – and most people do not really appreciate how many and how serious these side effects really are. The drug companies are certainly not going to ‘fess-up to the problems that their toxic concoctions can cause, except in the tiny print of that little package insert that comes with the drug (that no-one reads…)

Here is a summary of the more popular antihypertensive (blood pressure) medications and their more common side effects:

Brand Name (Generic Name) Possible Common Side Effects Include:
Accupril (quinapril hydrochloride) Headache, dizziness
Aldatazide Diarrhea, fever, headache, decreased coordination
Aldactone (spironolactone) Cramps, drowsiness, stomach disorders
Aldomet (methyldopa) Fluid retention, headache, weak feeling
Altace (ramipril) Headache, cough
Calan, Calan SR (verapamil hydrochloride) Constipation, fatigue, decreased blood pressure
Capoten (captopril) Decreased sense of taste, decreased blood pressure itching, rash
Cardene (nicardipine Hydrochloride) Dizziness, headache, indigestion and nausea, increased heartbeat
Cardizem (diltiazem hydrochloride) Dizziness, fluid retention, headache, nausea, skin rash
Cardura (doxazosin mesylate) Dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, headache
Catapres Dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation
Corgard (nadolol) Behavioral changes, dizziness, decreased heartbeat, tiredness
Corzide Dizziness, decreased heartbeat, fatigue, cold hands and feet
Diuril (chlorothiazide) Cramps, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, fever, increased glucose level in urine
Dyazide Blurred vision, muscle and abdominal pain, fatigue
DynaCirc (isradipine) Chest pain, fluid retention, headache, fatigue
HydroDIURIL (hydrochlorothiazide) Upset stomach, headache, cramps, loss of appetite
Hygroton (chlorthalidone) Anemia, constipation or diarrhea, cramps, itching
Hytrin (terazosin hydrochloride) Dizziness, labored breathing, nausea, swelling
Inderal (propranolol hydrochloride) Constipation or diarrhea, tingling sensation, nausea and vomiting
Inderide Blurred vision, cramps, fatigue, loss of appetite
Lasix (furosemide) Back and muscle pain, indigestion, nausea
Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate) Diarrhea, itching/rash, tiredness
Lotensin (benazepril hydrochloride) Nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headache
Alozol (indapamide) Anxiety, headache, loss of energy, muscle cramps
Maxzide Cramps, labored breathing, drowsiness, irritated stomach
Minipress (prazosin hdrochloride) Headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness
Moduretic Diarrhea, fatigue, itching, loss of appetite
Monopril (fosinopril sodium) Nausea and vomiting, headache, cough
Normodyne (labetalol hydrochloride) Fatigue, nausea, stuffy nose
Plendil (felodipine) Pain in back, chest, muscles, joints, and abdomen, itching, dry mouth, respiratory problems
Procardia, Procardia X (nifedipine) Swelling, constipation, nausea, fatigue
Sectral (acebutolol hydrochloride) Constipation or diarrhea, gas, chest and joint pain
Ser-Ap-Es Blurred vision, cramps, muscle pain, dizziness
Tenex (guanfacine hydrochloride) Headache, constipation, dry mouth, weakness
Tenoretic Decreased heartbeat, fatigue, nausea
Tenormin (atenolol) Nausea, fatigue, dizziness
Veseretic Diarrhea, muscle cramps, rash
Vasotec (enalapril maleate) Chest pain, blurred vision, constipation or diarrhea, hives, nausea
Visken (pindolol) Muscle cramps, labored breathing, nausea, fluid retention
Wytensin (guanabenz acetate) Headache, drowsiness, dizziness
Zaroxolyn (metolazone) Constipation or diarrhea, chest pain, spasms, nausea
Zestoretic (lisinopril hydrochlorothiazide) Fatigue, headache, dizziness
Zestril (lisinopril) Labored breathing, abdominal and chest pain, nausea, decreased blood pressure

Wow – quite a collection! Nausea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue are a common thread through this – and also commonly reported with many of these drugs are the very undesirable side effects of loss of libido, impotence, sexual dysfunction, and erectile dysfunction.

Fortunately, for those like Warren who want to avoid these drug-induced energy-sapping side effects, there are alternatives.

Chiropractic therapy has shown positive results in the treatment of hypertension. A study published in The Journal of Human Hypertension demonstrated a significant lowering of blood pressure in hypertensive patients after only one chiropractic adjustment of the atlas vertebra. The study showed a reduction in blood pressure immediately following the adjustment as well as a full eight weeks following the adjustment. Blood pressure in the group receiving the chiropractic adjustment was lowered by an average of 17mmHg BP systolic and 10mmHg diastolic BP. According to the authors of the study the decrease in blood pressure was equal to taking two antihypertensive drugs at once.

Dr. Myatt has a great deal of useful information and recommendations on our webpage discussing Hypertension – check it out!

Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, et al (2007). “Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study”. J Hum Hypertens 21 (5): 347–52. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1002133. PMID 17252032.

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