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High Blood Pressure Medicine

Alpha Blockers

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Alpha-blockers are high blood pressure medicines that lower blood pressure by blocking alpha-receptors in the smooth muscle of peripheral arteries throughout the tissues of the body. The alpha-receptors are part of the sympathetic nervous system, as are the beta-receptors. The alpha-receptors, however, serve to narrow (constrict) the peripheral arteries. Accordingly, the alpha-blockers cause the peripheral arteries to widen (dilate) and thereby lower the high blood pressure.

Alpha-blockers are particularly useful in patients with enlargement of the prostate gland because these high blood pressure medicines reduce the problems associated with urinating. Alpha-blockers alone, however, have a relatively small blood pressure-lowering effect. Accordingly, when high blood pressure coexists with prostatic enlargement, another anti-hypertensive medicine should be used together with an alpha-blocker. For example, tamsulosin (Flomax) or alfuzosin (Uroxatral) are alpha-blockers that work well in combination with other high blood pressure medicines.
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