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Alpha Blockers for High Blood Pressure

Alpha blockers reduce nerve impulses that tighten blood vessels, allowing blood to pass more easily and causing blood pressure to go down. They inhibit the effect of norepinephrine, a hormone that causes vessels to constrict.

Alpha blockers have several features that may be of advantage:

  • Slightly increases HDL cholesterol and lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Improved urinary flow in men with enlarged prostate
  • May be of benefit to glucose intolerant patients

Contradictions

  • Pregnant women
  • Patients with urinary incontinence
  • Postural (Orthostatic) hypertension (blood pressure falls when standing)

Side Effects

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Nasal congestion
  • Urinary incontinence (in women…rare)
  • Orthostatic hypertension (blood pressure falls when standing)

Alpha-1 Blockers

Doxazosin (Cardura)

1-16

1

Prazosin (Minipress†)

2-20

2-3

Terazosin (Hytrin)

1-20

1-2

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