Skip the main content if you do not want to read it as the next section.
High blood pressure treatments: Taking tablets
Q. Are there any blood pressure medicines that are particularly good for younger people?
A. The UK guidelines for managing high blood pressure (NICE 2006) recommend that if you are under the age of 55, you should initially take a medicine from a group of medicines called ACE inhibitors. This type of medication appears to be particularly effective in lowering blood pressure for people aged less than 55 years.
However there are two main groups of people who will not be given ACE inhibitors as a first-choice medicine because other groups of medications work better for them:
- If you are of African or Caribbean descent, whatever your age, you should start treatment with either a calcium-channel blocker or a diuretic. Examples of these medicines are listed in the box below.
- If you are a woman who may become pregnant, you may be given medicines such as beta-blockers. Examples of these medicines are listed in the box below. The reason for this is that ACE inhibitors may be harmful during pregnancy and affect the development of the baby.
On the whole, ACE inhibitors do not cause people too many problems, but some side-effects can occur. For example, ACE inhibitors may cause you to develop a dry cough. If this happens for you, you may be asked to change to an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) - a medicine that has the same effect as an ACE inhibitor but does not cause a dry cough. Examples of these medicines are in the box below.
Two out of three people with high blood pressure will find that taking just one medicine on its own is not enough to completely lower their blood pressure. If this is true for you, then other medicines will be added to your original tablet until you get good control of your blood pressure. Details of how these medicines are combined together are on the main website.
Two key ways to help your medicines to have the greatest effect possible is to:
- remember to take your medicines at the same time every day.
For more please see Is there a best time to take my tablets?
- make positive lifestyle changes and stick with them.
For more, please see Making lifestyle changes.