Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
Health Centers
Key Services
Medicial Mistakes?
How many people each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death after a hospital visit?
from 46,000 to 78,000
from 78,000 to 132,000
from 132,000 to 210,000
from 210,000 to 440,000

 What Doctors Don't Tell You: Hypertension combos 
What Doctors Don't Tell You © (Volume 14, Issue 12)
When a single drug doesn’t sort out a health issue, doctors tend to throw two at the problem. So medicine came up with the idea of hypertensive drug ‘teams’. A firm favourite is a thiazide diuretic (the oldest mainstay of hypertension treatment) combined with a beta-blocker. Other combinations include a diuretic with an ACE inhibitor (such as captopril), an alpha-blocker (like prazosin) or an angiotensin-II receptor antagonist (such as losartan). ACE inhibitors are also paired up with calcium antagonists. These teams came about after initial studies showed that these drug combinations worked better than diuretics alone (Am Heart J, 1995; 130: 359-66).

Nowadays, it is a rare doctor who just relies on one drug to knock high blood pressure on the head. Of the five million people in Britain taking antihypertensive drugs, more than a third take a diuretic-beta-blocker combo.

Thiazide diuretics reduce sodium and water. They are alone among the diuretics in also widening the blood vessels.

Beta-blockers stop the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) on beta-receptors, slowing the nerve impulses travelling through the heart so that it doesn’t need to work so hard for blood and oxygen. Beta-blockers also block the receptors responsible for heart rate and a strong heartbeat.

Diabetes risk The problem with taking two drugs is the potential for multiplying side-effects. The UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) pooled the results of seven studies (more than 70,000 patients) and found that the diuretic-beta-blocker combination increases the risk of diabetes by 20 per cent - to 0.2 per cent per year. Although doctors call this a ‘minimal risk’, it represents 6666 new cases of diabetes every year.

In a study of drug side-effects to ‘polypharmacy’, diuretics combined with beta-blockers were among the eight most frequent culprits (Scand J Prim Health Care, 2003; 21: 153-8).

Diabetes is only the latest side-effect of the supposedly safest hypertension drugs - so much so that three out of every 100 patients quit taking the drugs due to side-effects (Pharmacotherapy, 2001; 21: 940-53). Other adverse effects of diuretics include dizziness on standing (low blood pressure), blood disorders, skin reactions, impotence, gout, pancreatitis, and depletion of many important nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and zinc. Diuretics can also lead to kidney cancer. Ironically, diuretics can be especially problematical in those with heart disease (J Cardiovasc Pharmacol, 1990; 16: 58-63). It also causes the problem it’s meant to prevent - low blood pressure can lead to potentially fatal cardiovascular problems (Ann Intern Med, 2002; 136: 438-48).

As for beta-blockers, they can cause dryness of the mouth, eyes and skin, wheezing, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath, slow heartbeat, sleep problems, swelling of the hands and feet, intestinal problems like diarrhoea or constipation, vomiting, back or joint pain, impotence, skin rash, sore throat, depression, memory loss, confusion and even hallucinations. They can also cause angina if you stop taking them abruptly.

Cautions Don’t take the following drugs in combination:

* a beta-blocker and an alpha-adrenoceptor agonist, such as clonidine (Catapres) - this can increase blood pressure * a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor - no better than one * an alpha-adrenoceptor agonist and an alpha-blocker, a diuretic or a calcium antagonist - again, no better than one * a beta-blocker with verapamil or diltiazem - can cause heart failure * a calcium antagonist and an alpha-blocker, which may cause severely low blood pressure * combination diuretics with potassium - they react with other drugs like ACE inhibitors and painkillers. Take your potassium separately * Diuretics with HRT or the Pill - the hormones in both work to inhibit the diuretic effect (Am Fam Physicians, 1997; 56: 1275).

 Comments Add your comment 

 About The Author
What Doctors Don't Tell You What Doctors Don’t Tell You is one of the few publications in the world that can justifiably claim to solve people's health problems - and even save lives. Our monthly newsletter gives you the facts you won't......more
 From Our Friends
Popular & Related Products
Popular & Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     April 3-July 3, 2018
     Los Angeles, CA USA
2018 National Wellness Conference
     June 18-20, 2018
     St. Paul, MN USA
Additional Calendar Links
Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness, Feeling, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Wellness Inventory       Wellness Center
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us
Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
Learn More/Subscribe
Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
Learn More
Do you want to become a wellness coach?
Learn More
Free Webinar