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Common Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. According to the CDC, almost half of all adults living in the US have high blood pressure – that’s about 116 million people! Approximately 80% of people with hypertension will need prescription medication in order to get their blood pressure under control. The medications available today are very effective and safe, but, like all medications, may come with some side effects. Read on to learn about the most common medicines used to treat high blood pressure and their side effects.

ACE Inhibitors
Generic Examplesbenazepril, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril, quinapril, ramipril
How They WorkRelaxes and widens your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body
Common Side EffectsCough, dizziness, feeling tired, headache, trouble sleeping
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
Generic Examplescandesartan, irbesartan, losartan, olmesartan, telmisartan, valsartan
How They WorkRelaxes and widens your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body
Common Side EffectsDizziness, sinus problems, heartburn, diarrhea, back pain
Calcium Channel Blockers
Generic Examplesamlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, nifedipine, verapamil
How They WorkPrevents calcium from entering cells, which causes blood vessels to relax and widen
Common Side EffectsFeeling tired, headache, upset stomach, water retention (swollen ankles)
Generic Exampleschlorthalidone, eplerenone, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, torsemide, metolazone
How They WorkHelp your kidneys remove salt and water from your body
Common Side EffectsFrequent urination, dizziness, fainting, headache
Beta Blockers
Generic Examplesatenolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, nebivolol, propranolol
How They WorkMakes your heart beat more slowly and with less force, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body
Common Side EffectsFeeling tired, upset stomach, dizziness, headache

There are other medications that your medical doctor may use to control your blood pressure. They often have side effects like those listed above.

Read another blog about selecting the best blood pressure medication for you.

Hypertension is a very common condition in the United States. Although you may not feel the effects of high blood pressure right away, it is a serious condition that can have significant health consequences over time. You should always take your medication as prescribed; do not stop taking your high blood pressure medication without first talking to your medical doctor or pharmacist.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension Cascade: Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment and Control Estimates Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 Years and Older Applying the Criteria from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guideline—NHANES 2015–2018. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2021.
  2. Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA
    /PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018;71(19):e127-e248.

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Dr. Joanna L. Hodder

Dr. Joanna L. Hodder is a transitions of care pharmacist for a large hospital system in Denver, Colorado. She received her BA in English Literature from Iowa State University and PharmD from University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Dr. Hodder completed a post-graduate year 1 (PGY-1) residency at Northeast Iowa Family Practice Center, where she delivered quality patient care in both hospital and primary care settings. She is passionate about empowering patients to take charge of their health through evidence-based education and improving access to medications. When she isn’t working closely with patients, Dr. Hodder enjoys gardening, hiking with her dog, and yoga.




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