Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Which Blood Pressure Medications Are Safe?

Friday, 16 July 2010 12:37 PM

Question: I am a Type 2 diabetic, and I have high blood pressure. My doctor has prescribed lisinopril for my high blood pressure, but I learned from several other doctors that this medication is very dangerous. What can I take "safely" for my blood pressure, hopefully something that is NOT a drug but a natural product?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Regardless of your perspective on medications, you should regard any product with biologic effects and side effects as a "drug." The benefit of using FDA approved medications is that their purity, effectiveness, safety, and interactions have been clearly tested and proven to be effective.

There is no safety net for you when you start using non-approved drug combinations or "natural" products, and you are literally flying by the seat of your pants most of the time, and often wasting your money in return for undetermined risks.
All medications have risk benefit ratios. You owe it to yourself to discuss the rationale for your doctor's choice of medications for you before accepting the prescription. All medications have potential and very real side-effects. Some side effects affect everyone, while others vary by individual.

Lisinopril happens to belong to a revolutionary group of agents called ACE inhibitors that have been shown to protect the kidneys from damage, especially in diabetic patients, as well as control blood pressure and treat heart failure. The dangers of medications can be predicted by any experienced physician, so be sure to collaborate with your doctor to select medications that you feel comfortable using.

Your statement from other doctors claiming safety concerns and danger definitively contradicts the available information generally available to licensed physicians. I assume the medication was correctly selected, and the prescribing doctor had correctly screened you for the few conditions that may increase your chance of side effects on ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril.

A general danger statement is certainly without merit based upon available research as well as my personal extensive clinical experience. Suggest these "doctors" present their credentials. I would like to know what has motivated such a misleading statement to you.

The ACE inhibitors have saved many diabetic patients from end-stage renal failure, dialysis, and death. They have been a revolutionary class of drugs that when dosed properly and used as indicated, have extended and saved many lives with very few side effects.

If side effects occur, they are generally rapidly reversed by discontinuing the drug. Return to your doctor and ask what other choice may fit your needs, especially if you are going to be uncomfortable taking any medication.

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