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Blood pressure medications and how to save on costs

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What affects cost?How to saveCommon drugsLifestyle adaptationsContacting a doctorSummary
Prescription drugs, including blood pressure medications, are expensive, and the costs have continued to rise in recent years. But you can take some steps to ensure your medications fit your budget.
Medically reviewed by Jennie Olopaade, PharmD, RPH
Updated on

Your blood pressure is one of the most important indicators of your health, and it’s vital for it to be within an expected range for optimal well-being. If your blood pressure rises above the recommended range, it may be time to make some lifestyle adaptations. A doctor or healthcare professional may suggest medications, too.

Cost, availability, and treatment simplicity are important factors to consider when taking blood pressure medications. They should be taken regularly and as directed by a healthcare team.

Blood pressure medications are not available over the counter and require a prescription.

Factors affecting blood pressure medication costs

overhead view of an adult sitting in their dining room and using an at-home blood pressure machine after looking at how to save on the cost of blood pressure medications
Photography by Oscar Wong/Getty Images

The cost of blood pressure medication can change for several reasons, including:

  • Ingredients: The price can vary depending on the type of medication a doctor prescribes. Some newer medications and their ingredients may be more expensive, along with research into drug development.
  • Brand name vs. generic: Usually, brand-name drugs are more expensive than their generic counterparts. This could be because the manufacturer developing the brand-name drug is conducting trials and research and going through Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval processes.
  • Location: The medications may have a higher cost depending on where you live. It can cost more to transport medications to more remote or less populated areas.
  • Compliance: Taking your blood pressure medication as prescribed can save you money in the long term. People who do not take their medications as prescribed may require additional medications or changes to their dosage.

How to save on blood pressure medications

You can take some steps to ensure you are always getting the best price for your medications.

Brand name vs. generic

Generic medications often cost significantly less than brand-name versions. This is because the first manufacturer to produce a drug will own the brand name and have exclusive rights, often due to the amount of research, clinical trials, and approval processes they must follow.

Once exclusivity rights expire, any manufacturer can create a generic version of the approved drug, using the same active ingredient. These generics often cost less than the brand-name version because the manufacturers don’t have to invest as much to bring the drug to market.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that generic drugs can generally save you 80–85% on the cost of brand-name versions. You can ask a doctor or pharmacist whether a generic substitution exists and request it if possible.

Assistance programs

Some assistance programs help pay for medications or offer them for free for a limited time.

Eligibility typically depends on your circumstances, such as income or health needs. There are state pharmaceutical assistance programs to help you better afford your prescriptions, as well as a medicine assistance tool that helps connect patients with financial assistance programs.

Prescription discount cards or coupons

One way to help lower the cost of medications is to visit sites that offer free prescription discount cards and coupons, like the Optum Perks Discount Card.

No membership is required, and unless you choose to provide your phone number or email address, no personal information is collected. There are also no eligibility requirements, and you do not need health insurance.

You can download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on many prescription medications, or you can follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication. Alternatively, you can search for a specific drug here.

If you have health insurance that includes prescription drugs, your out-of-pocket cost may be lower than discount prescription cards and coupons, and you cannot usually use the two together. However, you can use coupons or discount cards with health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

Learn more about these health savings accounts.

Common blood pressure drugs and how they work

Several factors can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), and the medications a doctor prescribes will tailor to your individual symptoms. This makes it important to always speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new medications.

Doctors may prescribe:

  • Diuretics: Often referred to as a water pill or pee pill, these medications increase urination to remove extra fluids in the body and blood vessels, which lowers the pressure. Examples include hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), and spironolactone (Aldactone).
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: These medications help widen the blood vessels and reduce the amount of fluid and salt in the body. Both actions help decrease vessel pressure and include enalapril (Vasotec), trandolapril (Mavik), and ramipril (Altace).
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): This medication relaxes blood vessel walls, making it easier for the blood to flow through them. Like ACE inhibitors, it also decreases water and salt in the body to help lower blood pressure. Examples are losartan (Cozaar) and azilsartan (Edarbi).
  • Beta-blockers: These medications decrease your heart rate and relax your blood vessels. This makes it easier for blood to flow and reduces the pressure in the heart and vessels. These drugs include metoprolol (Lopressor), carvedilol (Coreg), atenolol (Tenormin), and propranolol (Inderal).
  • Calcium channel blockers: This medication relaxes blood vessel walls and reduces the amount of calcium in the heart. Calcium causes the heart’s contractions or squeezing motions, and by lessening the available calcium, it can reduce the force or pressure on the heart and vessels. Drugs include amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem), and nifedipine (Procardia).
  • Renin inhibitors: Renin is an enzyme that can raise blood pressure and cause the body to retain fluid. These medications bind with the enzymes to prevent these negative effects and reduce blood pressure. The drug aliskiren (Tekturna) is currently the only FDA-approved renin inhibitor in the United States.

If you need help covering the cost of medications, the free Optum Perks Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.

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Lifestyle adaptations to help manage high blood pressure

There are many ways to naturally help reduce blood pressure, and a few lifestyle adaptations can positively affect your health. These may include:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • limiting alcohol
  • getting regular exercise
  • maintaining an optimal body mass index (BMI)
  • managing stress as best you can
  • quitting smoking, if applicable

Discussing blood pressure with your doctor

Being open and honest is best when speaking with a doctor or healthcare professional.

You should discuss your medications, side effects, health insurance, and any obstacles you may have obtaining your medications. You should also be honest about your lifestyle habits, like smoking, drinking, and exercise levels.

Knowing your blood pressure reading and what it may mean for you is also important. A doctor may suggest that you monitor your blood pressure at home to see how well a medication is working.


Medication costs, including those for high blood pressure, are rising each year, making it more difficult for some people to afford their prescriptions. Speak with a doctor or healthcare professional about which medications would best suit your needs. You can also check with them whether there are more affordable generic versions available.

State assistance programs can also help you with prescriptions, as well as free discount cards and coupons.

Implementing healthy lifestyle measures may also help reduce your blood pressure, which can potentially reduce the amount of medication you need.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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