Alpha Blockers For High Blood Pressure


Alpha blockers are a first-line treatment for high blood pressure and are also added in to other classes of blood pressure treatment if the single drug alone does not control blood pressure.



How alpha blockers lower a high blood pressure

Alpha blockers (eg doxazosin, indoramin, prazosin, terazosin) lower a high blood pressure by relaxing smooth muscle fibres within the lining of blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure by causing arteries and veins to dilate.

Alpha blockers also relax smooth muscle fibres in the prostate gland, making these blood pressure treatments particularly helpful for older males who have both high blood pressure and urinary symptoms associated with benign enlargement of the prostate gland (BPH).

On average, an alpha blocker reduces systolic blood pressure (your upper reading) by 8 mmHg when used alone. They are often reserved for people who do not tolerate other classes of drug.

They can cause a rapid fall in blood pressure so treatment is started at a low dose which is increased as necessary.

Some alpha-blockers boost alcohol absorption, so check the Patient Information Leaflet provided with your medicine to see if you are advised to avoid alcohol during treatment.



Patient information leaflets

To find out more about the most common alpha blockers, including their possible side effects, click on the following links. These will take you to a typical Patient Information Leaflet that is found inside a UK pack of these medicines. Always read the patient information leaflet supplied with your own medicine as different preparations vary.

 

If your blood pressure is raised, self-monitoring is key to maintaining good control. 

Click here for advice on choosing a blood pressure monitor to use at home.

See my recommended upper arm blood pressure monitors.

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