Hydrochlorothiazide Blood Pressure Medicine

The prescription blood pressure medicine hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) belongs to a class of drugs known as diuretics ("water pills"). Besides treating high blood pressure, the medication is also licensed to treat water retention due to various causes.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers -- for example: 120/80. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as an average blood pressure higher than 140/90, with multiple blood pressure readings.
Based on clinical studies, hydrochlorothiazide has been shown to significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. By lowering blood pressure, hydrochlorothiazide can also decrease the risk of developing health problems (such as a stroke, heart disease, or congestive heart failure) that occur with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). Hydrochlorothiazide is not a cure for high blood pressure.
(Click Hydrochlorothiazide for more information on how hydrochlorothiazide works as a blood pressure medicine, to learn about the warnings associated with this type of drug, and to find out when and how to take this diuretic.)
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