Discuss briefly the different groups of antihypertensive drugs

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Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs 

Chapter Three

Learning objectives
After completing this chapter the student will be able to:

  • Describe the different cardiovascular and renal disorders,
  • Understand the basic pharmacological principles of cardiovascular and renal drugs,
  • Learn the rational use of these drugs,
  • Describe the side effects of these drugs,

In the past decades, cardiovascular diseases were considered as major health problems mainly for western countries. However, the problem of cardiovascular disorders is also increasing in developing countries including  Ethiopia. The most commonly encountered cardiovascular disorders include hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina pectoris and cardiac arrhythmias. Most drugs available currently are able to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to these disorders, and therefore, this chapter discusses the pharmacology of these drugs.

I. Antihypertensive drugs
a.  General consideration:-
Hypertension is defined as an elevation of arterial blood pressure above an arbitrarily defined normal value. The American Heart Association defines hypertension as arterial blood pressure higher than 140/90mmHg (based on three measurements at different times).
Hypertension may be classified in to three categories, according to the level of diastolic blood pressure:

  • Mild hypertension with a diastolic blood pressure between 95-105 mmHg
  • Moderate hypertension with a diastolic blood pressure between 105 – 115mmHg
  • Severe hypertension with a diastolic blood pressure above 115mmHg.


  1. Discuss briefly the different groups of antihypertensive drugs.
  2. Which of the antihypertensive drugs can also be used in angina pectoris?
  3. What are the common adverse effects of vasodilators?
  4. Discuss how digitalis and loop diuretics interact.
  5. Describe the pharmacological approaches used in the management of shock.

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