Q. My husband is fed up with his blood pressure medications and is threatening to stop the four drugs he is on. The diuretic has him getting up at night to urinate. Some of the other drugs have had a dramatically negative impact on our sex life (loss of sexual desire plus ED). He is also fighting depression for the first time in his life.
His doctor admits that the drugs can cause these side effects but has no alternatives. Can you offer any holistic treatments for hypertension?
A. Your husband should not have to suffer side effects such as depression or impotence in order to control his high blood pressure. Beta-blockers (atenolol, propranolol, etc.) have been linked to dizziness, depression, fatigue and sexual dysfunction. A review in the Journal of Internal Medicine (Sept., 2009) suggests that such drugs should not be first line treatments for hypertension.
There are blood pressure medications that are less likely to cause sexual problems or depression. Your husband may also try losing weight, exercising, following a special “DASH” diet, drinking beet, pomegranate and grape juice and avoiding NSAID pain relievers.
We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment with many more non-drug approaches and a thorough discussion of medications that are less likely to cause side effects. Please insist that he NOT stop his blood pressure drugs suddenly, as that could jeopardize his health.