Antihypertensive drug refers to the important class of drugs used for treating blood pressure. They have remarkably improved in the last 50 years. Different classes of drugs have received prominence with passage of time in this period. Before 1950 hardly any effective and tolerated antihypertensive drug was available. Veratrum and Sod. thiocyanate could lower BP, but were toxic and difficult to use. The ganglion blockers developed in the 1950s were effective, but inconvenient. Reserpine was a breakthrough, but produced mental depression. The therapeutic potential of hydralazine could not be tapped fully because of marked side effects when it was used alone. Guanethidine introduced in 1961 was an improvement on ganglion blockers.
The antihypertensive drug of the 1960— 70s were methyldopa, f3 blockers, thiazide and high ceiling diuretics and clonidine. The status of beta blockers and diuretics was consolidated in the 1970s and selective cs, blocker prazosin broke new grounds. The antihypertensive drug of the 1980—90s are angiotensin II converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and calcium channel blockers. Angiotensin receptor blockers (losartan) are the latest antihypertensive drug. With the development of many types of drugs, delineation of their long-term benefits and complications, and understanding of the principles on which to combine them, hypertension can now be controlled in most cases with minimum discomfort.