Blood Pressure Medication

Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

ACE inhibitors

ACE inhibitors are medications that slow the activity of the enzyme ACE, which decreases the production of angiotensin II (a very potent chemical that causes the muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract, thus narrowing the vessels). As a result, the blood vessels enlarge or dilate, and blood pressure is reduced.

Angiotensin II is a very potent chemical that is formed by the enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). Angiotensin II is released within the body and causes the muscles surrounding blood vessels to contract, thus narrowing the vessels and increasing blood pressure. ACE inhibitors are medications that inhibit the activity of ACE which decreases the production of angiotensin II. As a result, ACE inhibitors cause the blood vessels to enlarge or dilate, and this reduces blood pressure.

Examples of ACE inhibitors include:

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are medications that block the action of angiotensin II by preventing angiotensin II from binding to angiotensin II receptors on the muscles surrounding blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels enlarge (dilate), and blood pressure is reduced.

Examples of ARB drugs include:

Beta-blockers

Beta blockers are drugs that block norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to both beta 1 and beta 2 receptors on organs and muscles, including the muscles that cause blood vessels to narrow and the heart to beat. By blocking the effect of norepinephrine and epinephrine, beta blockers reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and reducing heart rate. They also may constrict air passages because stimulation of beta receptors in the lung cause the muscles that surround the air passages to contract.

Examples of beta-blockers include:




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