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High Blood Pressure Medicine Side Effects



Most Blood Pressure Drugs are Poison

Prescription drugs designed to lower blood pressure accomplish this by poisoning the body in numerous ways. Yes, "Poison" is the right word. The definition of poison in chemistry means to inhibit or block a reaction or a substance. The action of adrenaline on the heart muscle is inhibited by beta-blockers, the contraction of blood vessels is inhibited by calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers also inhibit and block the hormones that regulate blood pressure that are produced by the adrenal glands, and diuretics poison the water and inhibit the ability of the kidneys to conserve electrolytes.

Below is a discussion of the five main classes of medications for high blood pressure.

Check Blood Pressure At Home For Months Before Starting Any Drugs

If your situation is not an emergency then you should begin by buying a good blood pressure monitor. Take your blood pressure at home for several weeks and write down the results. Take these results to your doctor for further evaluation.

If your blood pressure remains at 160/100 mm Hg or more for a period of several months and you don't respond to a low-fat plant based diet, then you may need medication to bring your blood pressure down. Note this carefully: if you do begin to take blood pressure medication, do not be overly aggressive with the treatment. As a rule of some. Lowering the blood pressure under 140/90 mm Hg with drugs will not benefit you and will actually elevate the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and death. Recently the well-respected Cochrane Collaboration published a review that concluded: "treating patients to lower than standard blood pressure targets, less than 140-160/90-100 mm Hg, does not reduce mortality or morbidity."

Chlorthalidone Is the Right Drug

Chlorthalidone is a diuretic pill taken by mouth that has a continuous action of 48 to 72 hours with low toxicity. Diuretics reduce blood pressure by lowering fluid volume, which lowers the output of the heart thus causing a fall in blood pressure. Patients and doctors commonly believe they will derive similar benefits from all diuretics. However this is not true and chlorthalidone is the diuretic of choice for most patients. In 1990, a report was issued by the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) which showed a lowering of nonfatal cardiovascular occurrences when the diuretic drug was changed replacing hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) with chlorthalidone for men who were at high risk for coronary heart disease. Chlorthalidone has been shown to be more effective at reducing systolic blood pressure (the top number) then HCTZ. The beginning dosage applied was 12.5 to 25 mg daily but the dosage could be increased to 50 to 100 mg each day. Any patients on chlorthalidone should be monitored at the end of one month to see if there is an electrolyte imbalance such as low potassium, low chloride and the low-sodium. This is done by testing the blood. Other laboratory tests should be done periodically to look for ill effects this strong diuretic. As an example, blood levels of uric acid, triglycerides and cholesterol can be elevated by this drug. Chlorthalidone is cheap. A one-month supply is $4 and a 90 day supply is $10 for 25 or 50 mg tablets.

Beta-blockers Should Not Be Routinely Prescribed

For years beta-blockers were thought to be on the front line in the treatment of high blood pressure. Recent medical research shows that beta-blockers like Atenolol should not be taken unless there is another underlying reason for their use such as myocardial infarction, heart failure or atrial fibrillation. The Cochrane Collaboration came to this conclusion: "the available evidence does not support the use of beta blockers as the first-line drugs in the treatment of hypertension. This conclusion is based on the relatively weak effect of beta blockers to reduce stroke and the absence of an effect on coronary heart disease when compared to placebo or no treatment."

The following are some commonly prescribed beta-blockers: acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), betaxolol (Kerlone), betaxolol (Betoptic, Betoptic S), bisoprolol fumarate (Zebeta), carteolol (Cartrol), carvedilol (Coreg), esmolol (Brevibloc), labetalol (Trandate, Normodyne), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), nebivolol (Bystolic), penbutolol (Levatol), pindolol (Visken), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and timolol (Blocadren).

You Should Never Take Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers are also referred to as "calcium blockers" and "calcium antagonists.” These drugs reduce the heart's pumping strength and cause the blood vessels to relax and are often used as a treatment for high blood pressure, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and angina (chest pain). Unfortunately these drugs elevate the risk of dying from cancer (especially breast cancer) and heart disease. There is also an increased risk of developing open-angle glaucoma, bleeding and suicide.

To follow are some examples of calcium channel blockers and you should never take any of them: amlodipine (Norvasc), clevidipine (Cleviprex), diltiazem (Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), isradipine (Dynacirc), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular), and verapamil (Calan, Isoptin).

Never Take Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

In our bodies there is a hormone called angiotensin which causes the blood vessels to constrict and this brings about higher blood pressure resulting in extra effort for the heart. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) also known as angiotensin II receptor antagonists, stop angiotensin from connecting to its receptor in the blood vessel walls. The result is a lowering of blood pressure. These drugs are commonly given because they are less likely to cause a chronic cough than drugs called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE Inhibitors), which also work in a similar way on the "angiotensin system" to bring down high blood pressure.

Compelling evidence reveals that angiotensin receptor blockers (unlike ACE inhibitors) elevate the rates of heart attacks in spite of their ability to reduce blood pressure.

Here are examples and you never want to take any of these: candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Tevetan), irbesartan (Avapro), telmisartan (Mycardis), valsartan (Diovan), and losartan (Cozaar).

ACE Inhibitors Don’t Work Well and are Dangerous

For decades, doctors have prescribed angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Their central advantage is that they are said to be protective for the kidneys which means they will help prevent the kidneys from failing, especially for persons who already have diabetes and/or kidney disease. However their ability to protect the kidneys has been mostly refuted. The ALLHAT medical trial was the largest antihypertensive trial in the second largest lipid lowering trial ever conducted. It revealed that for patients with diabetes, more developed end stage kidney failure taking the ACE inhibitor (lisinopril) when compared with the chlorthalidone group. Chronic and acute kidney failure from taking these medications is also reported and is much more widespread than most physicians realize.

You never want to take these ACE inhibitors: benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik).

High Blood Pressure Drug Benefits Are Over Hyped

We should not be surprised to learn that drug companies take great pains to show the benefits of their products and to hide the dangers. Let's speak about this plainly: these companies lie to doctors, media, medical journals and patients. One well-worn devious method is to report insignificant benefits from taking their products such as lowering blood pressure while avoiding reporting very important end factors like not dying and lowering the risk of a stroke or heart attack.  In other words the drug may lower your blood pressure (the trumpet this) but it brings about an increase in heart attacks and strokes (they hide this).

These drug companies will show "relative benefits" rather than "absolute benefits." As an example the risk of having a stroke in a five-year period is 15 occurrences per thousand for patients who have not been treated and nine occurrences for those being treated with drugs. The relative risk reduction is 15-9 divided by 15 which gives us a 40% reduction. 40% looks like a tremendous benefit. However looking at the numbers more honestly with reports of the absolute benefit are much less impressive. To calculate the absolute reductions in stroke from taking these drugs is 15-9 strokes, which comes to only six strokes that are prevented after treating 1000 persons with drugs for five years. To put it another way, each year one stroke is prevented by giving these drugs to 1000 patients. That's a whole lot of money down the drain and the side effects that are visited upon the unsuspecting patients is in trade for a very low absolute benefit. For example would you swap sexual dysfunction for this benefit that occurs only one in 1000?

The bottom line is this: in most all cases high blood pressure can be cured by changing one's diet and lifestyle. The side effects are good health and a cheerful attitude. But this takes some effort. The easy way out, taking drugs, do very little for you, cost you a lot of money and often cause great harm.

This piece is adapted from an article by Dr. John McDougall.  You can read the original article including references to medical studies and reports by clicking on this link Dr. McDougall High Blood Pressure

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