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I have very difficult to treat high blood pressure due to allergic reactions to many BP medications.  Out of some seven different BP drugs, Losartan Potassium has been the only one not to produce any discernible side effects.  However, it does not control my high blood pressure on its own.  I have just a sole kidney and Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3b and at my latest renal consultation today, my blood pressure was the highest ever at 240/110.  Amazingly, my kidney function,eGFR at 44 was the best it has been for a couple of years  (2 months ago 33) and the Creatinine was, as you would expect, with an improved eGFR also lower at 106.   Unfortunately, I did not see my usual renal consultant today but another doctor who has decided to add a blood pressure drug called Hydralazine. I've looked it up and it is described as a strong drug only prescribed when other drugs have failed.  Has anyone taken this drug successfully without side effects, please?

0 likes, 25 replies

25 Replies

  • Posted

    hI have you tried valsartan. What side effects did you have on losartan?
    • Posted

      Angela, thank you but Losartan, as I mentioned, was/is the only drug I have tolerated to date but it isn't controlling the blood pressure at all obviously.  Valsartan is one I haven't tried - it sounds as though it is from the same family of drugs as Losartan.  

  • Posted

    I've never heard of it until now.

    I had bad reactions to a lot of BP meds too, but could tolerate irbesartan at lower doses. However, this wasn't enough on its own, so after some experimentation, the doctor put me on doxazosin.

    I have few side effects on doxazosin, and only take a small dose of that too, as it does the job.

    Have you tried it?

    • Posted

      Thank you nellgywn - sadly, Doxazosin proved a no-no for me when added to my Losartan - itching/scratching day and night - proven by skin biopsy.  However, I'm not too sure that the itching problem really rested with Losartan which although fine at 50mg, that in itself caused a crazy itch when increased to 100mg after removing the Doxazosin.  Therein lies a problem sometimes when more than one drug is prescribed.

    • Posted

      It's tough, isn't it. Before starting on Doxazosin, I upped my Irbesartan in 2013 to 150mg to cope with a sudden rise in BP, after having taken only 37.5mg for years - stressful home situation - and I started having dreams that I was getting stabbed in my legs, because in real life, the pain the drug was causing in my legs was unbearable!

      They tried augmenting Irbesartan with Atenolol, and I had a massive skin reaction, which I still have to use Elecon for to this day.

      Then they tried Amlodopine and I ended up unable to move.

      As a sort of semi last ditch attempt, the doc prescribed 1mg of Doxazosin, which had an immediate effect on my BP, but made my heart race insanely.

      It took a while, but my body got used to it, and it still pretty much works at 1mg.

      And yes, I know that itch. But it only happens now when I'm very hot.

      What helped more than anything was getting an amazing cardiologist. Different doctors had been nagging at me incessantly because my BP was always high when I saw them, but not at home. They didn't care I had White Coat Syndrome. Numbers are numbers after all!

      However, this cardiologist, and I mentioned this on another thread, said 140/90 is within normal limits, and that he should know, because he wrote the most recent BP directives for the EU.

      Before that, I was taking my BP about 8 times a day, 5 times per session, making sure it was at least 90/60 - in many instances it was 76/49 - just to keep those other doctors quiet!!!

      Now I never take my BP at home, and I stick to 1mg of Doxazosin only.

      I know that doesn't answer your question, but if you could take Losartan and Doxazosin at lower doses, you might find you have less insane itching and a better blood pressure reading...

    • Posted

      Hi I too have itching on valsartan and also burning legs. Do you think this is the cause? I can't stand it anymore. I am unable to take calcium channel blockers and potassium as well as furosemide. Please can someone help ? Thanks.

    • Posted

      Yes, Angela, as Valsartan comes under the same class of BP drug as Losartan, it's possible if my experience at 100mg of Losartan a while ago is anything to go by.  Before the skin biopsy, I was up through the night putting cream all over.  Over-the-counter antihistamine did nothing to help so the GP prescribed a stronger antihistamine which was a little more effective.

    • Posted

      Thank you nellgywn, but having tried Losartan and Doxazosin together each at low doses, the itching was unbearable.  I'm so glad you have found something that works for you. No doubt my sole kidney disease is contributing to my blood pressure problem and vice versa - catch 22 situation!

    • Posted

      That's a shame! I hope you find something that works for you very soon smile

  • Posted

    I too am difficult and have recently stopped Nevibolol due to increasing side effects after one month.  I have always taken Indapamide with no side effects for the last 25yrs. and although that on its own now does not keep my blood pressure right I will not take any additional ones.  When I say right my BP is on average 133/90 and for my age 73 is considered good.  I did not have a rise in pressure until I was treated for Atrial Fibrillation and I discovered the drug the drugs that they gave me (which had horrendous side effect) did also raise the blood pressure.  I am waiting now to see a different cardiologist for a review.  I have never taken hydralazine and I have no doubt that it would not suit me but I am happy now my BP is back at a reasonable level.  Sometimes they don`t tell you that what they prescribe for you can raise your pressure like Nevibolol did for me when it was supposed to reduce it!

    ​Take care , sorry I am not able to answer you but I hope that my hard won experience will help you find a way forward, as I too started my journey through the drugs cabinet with readings as high as yours.

    Good luck.


    • Posted

      Thank you Sylvia - Indapamide made me feel totally lethargic and hardly able to put one foot in front of the other.  At the next blood test, the culprit was found to be Indapamide in that it had reduced my salt levels quite drastically.  I already avoid salt in my diet as far as possible as not good for my reduced  kidney function.
  • Posted

    Goodmorning, MrsO-UK Surrey...Wow, you certainly have been through the wringer when it comes to meds. 

    As for Hydralazine, I do know it's a bp medication, that can be used alone, or with other bp meds. It also comes as an injectible, or tablet. Also, it can be used in bp crisis. 

    You did say the Losartan Potassium has been the friendliest med for you. Has the Dr. taken that away????? You did state that it didn't control your bp on it's own. Perhaps you may ask the Dr. to keep taking it along with the Hydralazine. The one thing that comes to mind is that the Hydralazine may be in the same class as the Losartan, which would likely mean you can't take it along with the Losartan. OR it may be like taking an ACE along with an ARB...it's not done here in Canada. 

    Please let us know how you get on. 

    • Posted

      Thanks Mike - the Losartan is to be continued with the Hydralazine added.  They are different classes of drugs - the Losartan being an Angiotensin Receptor Blocker and the Hydralazan being a Vascodilator.  Don't like the look of the description/common side effects.  It is described as a "strong" drug by the Mayo Clinic usually only prescribed where other drugs have failed and with other medications often needed to counteract the side effects.  Have also read that it isn't recommended in the case of rheumatic leaky mitral heart valves.  Well, don't know about the "rheumatic" side of it but I do have a diagnosed leaky mitral valve.  Did I say that I was an awkward patient.  As the consultant I saw yesterday said, "the other alternative is not to treat it but that would be wrong".  When he took the BP and saw the reading, he kept asking me if I had a headache or whether I felt dizzy - I didn't, but I thought admitting me might have been on the cards!  Had a job to fall off to sleep last night with stroke/heart attack fears on my mind!  Don't even want to take my blood pressure myself as I will panic more if it's still high!

    • Posted

      MrsO-UK Surrey...Sorry you had such a traumatic experience. It was natural for the Dr. to ask if you had a heachache or if you felt dizzy because of the high bp reading. I'm sure you told the Dr. about the leaky mitral valve. Usually at the ER patients are treated for extremely high bp., until it goes down to a safe level. Then of course the patient is told to "see your family doctor". 

      I can well understand why you felt the way you did when it came time to go to sleep. Actually, & I do mean this with total respect, you didn't do yourself any favours. It's easy for me to say, because I'm not in your situation, but worrying about it only drives the numbers UP., AND you jip yourself out of a good night's rest which is very important. If you were to take your bp while feeling this way, I'd almost guarantee that it would be high...because you're upset/worried about it.Why on earth a Dr. would say.."the other alternative is not to treat it but that would be wrong"...is beyond me. In a situation such as yours, it MUST be treated. I scratch my head at the attitude of some Dr.s these days.

      Anyway., I do hope things start to turn around. Please let me know how it gets on.

    • Posted

      Thank you, Mike.  No, I didn't mention the mitral valve problem to the consultant as, not knowing anything about the proposed new drug, I wasn't aware of it having possible contraindications until I came home and checked the web.  I have to take the form from the hospital to the GP tomorrow to get the surgery to write the prescription so I will query it with the GP.  Thanks for your good wishes.

    • Posted

      MrsO-UK Surrey....Goodmorning!..(at least it's morning here in Canada!!!). Sometimes what we read on the web can be misleading. You haven't filled the prescription as yet, which is a good thing. Whatever you do, be sure to ask about the contraindication. Sometimes a contraindication is there, but doesn't necessarily apply to the particular patient. 


    • Posted

      Well Mike the GP I saw today took my BP and when he saw 190/95, he said I had to take the new drug starting tonight.  I mentioned all my allergic reactions to so many drugs, my mitral valve prolapse and risk of aortic aneurism.  He said loads of people have MVP and he isn’t concerned.   I am overdue for a 2 yearly AA check so he has set the wheels in motion for an ultrasound scan.  Just collected the medication - the leaflet says “Do not take..........if you have heart valve problems (aortic or mitral stenosis).  I really don’t have a choice but with my past history of awful side effects from some 7/8 BP meds to date, it’s difficult to feel confident.
    • Posted

      Goodmorning again, Mrs. O-UK Surrey...Wow, you certainly are between a rock & a hard place!

      The leaflet for the medication specifically says "Do not take if you have heart valve problems (aortic or mitral stenosis)..yet the Dr. says it's ok. I'd be inclined to consult the Pharmacist about the medication.

      If the Pharmacist refers you to the leaflet, that tells you something., then I'd get back to the Dr. & express my concerns. Remember, the GP is not a Cardiologist.Truly, don't let this go..& whatever you do, please try not to let this make you anxious. I'm here if you want to write notes. I'll help as much as I can.

    • Posted

      Hi again, Mike.  What I’m banking on is that it seems that the mitral valve stenosis warned about is a little different to mitral valve prolapse.  I’ve read that the former is a narrowing of the arteries to the mitral valve and the latter is where the valve is not opening and closing cleanly but flopping around.  The 25mg dose I’ve been started on is quite a small dose as doses go and I made sure to get a blood test form before leaving the clinic so that I can get my kidney function etc checked after about 10 days.  My latest kidney result this week was the best it has been in a couple of years so hoping Hydralazine doesn’t rock the boat - if it does then it will be given short shrift!
    • Posted

      Mrs O-UK Surrey...OK...a 25mg dose to start is small. This could be a good thing!!!! A small dose may not cause you any problems, which is why the Dr. prescribed it. You could still check with the Pharmacist though. They do know more about the drugs than any doctor. This is their specialty! 

      You've already decided that is the Hydralazine interferes, you'd come off it. Good thinking. I do hope you have a Dr with whom you can speak with candidly, & in a relaxed fashion. Mine is just that way. If I'm very hesitant about something, I ask him, & he more than willingly explains things, or assures me. I trust the man implicitly. Please keep me updated.

    • Posted

      Thanks, Mike - yes I had already checked with a pharmacist but she said the consultant knows about my kidney disease so hopefully wouldn’t  have prescribed it if he wasn’t confident - pretty stock answer, I suppose!  Feel ok so far after first two doses but it’s early days - fingers crossed.  GP said it will take about 10 days to be effective so I’ll just relax now and let you know if anything changes.
    • Posted

      MrsO-UK Surrey...I agree, it seems like a stock answer from the Pharmacist., but I must admit that it makes sense that the Dr wouldn't have prescribed it had he not been confident. 

      It usually takes 10days to 2 weeks for medicines to be effective, so shortly you should have an idea as to what's going on. A lot of doctors expect a patient to be on a med for a month, but I don't agree with that.

      If a patient is feeling ill & knows full well the ill feeling is side effects of a new medication, then why have them suffer for a month? 

      Key here is for you to relax which you plan on doing. Yes please..let me know if anything changes.

      I'm so grateful we have this forum to display our feelings about things, what we're experiencing with various meds, etc.etc. It has helped me greatly. 

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