Medication for Hypertension in Children
Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone may recommend one or more antihypertensive medications to treat children with moderate to severe hypertension and to prevent complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, later in life. Our doctors always use the lowest possible dose needed to lower and maintain normal blood pressure. Many of these medications are available in liquid form.
Diuretics are medications that help the kidneys to eliminate excess sodium, which also helps to eliminate water, decreasing blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors, also known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, block the activity of angiotensin II, a substance that can constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure. ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors are often prescribed for children who have hypertension in addition to diabetes, because these medications do not have any effect on blood sugar levels. Commonly reported side effects include a dry cough and headache.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure by limiting the amount of calcium available in the muscles of blood vessels. This relaxes the vessels and slows the heart rate.
Calcium channel blockers may cause side effects such as flushing, headaches, constipation, and increased appetite, which can lead to weight gain.
Beta blockers inhibit the effects of adrenaline, a hormone that makes the heart beat faster. Beta blockers also help to open up blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. These medications may be prescribed when other antihypertensive medications are ineffective.
Common side effects of beta blockers include constipation, diarrhea, and headache.