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Medications for Pain Series: Blood Pressure Medication

June 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

This article is one in a series on Medications for Pain. What are your choices? How do various medications work? Pros and cons? How about side effects?

Anti-Hypertensive Medication are drugs originally used to control high blood pressure. A common medication from this class that’s used for pain is Clonidine.

Like muscle relaxants, anti-hypertensives indirectly decrease pain. They would be considered supplemental medications for pain, rather than primary ones.

Effect of Anti-Hypertensives:
These medications work by decreasing the activity of your sympathetic nervous system. This is the fight or flight system in your body, the one that’s responsible for getting your body going – raising your blood pressure and getting your heart beating faster.

Uses of Anti-Hypertensives:
In some pain disorders, it’s thought that an overactive sympathetic system may be partly responsible for symptoms. CRPS (RSD) and other neuropathic pain disorders are some examples. Using anti-hypertensives in pain isn’t FDA-approved, but there are some studies supporting the use of these medications for pain.

Side Effects:

  • a decrease in blood pressure (which is a direct effect of the medication, but is considered a side effect when the medication is used for pain control, as that’s not the effect that’s necessarily desired)
  • sedation
  • dizziness or lightheadedness

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