But did you know that some common medications can cause high blood pressure? A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that the chemical components of certain drugs can raise blood pressure and doctors remain dangerously unaware. Researchers involved in the study commented that just because something can be purchased ‘over-the- counter’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarily harmless.
Many of the medications that are linked to a rise in blood pressure are quite widely used. For example, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs) were shown “to produce a clinically significant increment in mean BP of 5 mm Hg.” Similarly, several studies linked acetaminophen with a notably higher incidence of elevated blood pressure in those patients with coronary artery disease.
The study also showed that decongestants and cough medicine containing pseudoephedrine, epinephrine and phenylephrine have been reported to cause severe high blood pressure in some individuals. Antidepressants were responsible for causing a mild dose-dependent increase in blood pressure among those taking them, and they were also capable of triggering high blood pressure in those who tended specifically towards panic disorders.
Hypertension develops in at least 20 percent of patients taking synthetic corticosteroids. Oral cortisol at prescribed doses of 80-200 mg/day can raise systolic BP as much as 15 mm Hg within 24 hours. Oral contraceptives can cause elevated blood pressure in roughly 5 percent of those who take them, where combined doses contain at least 50 ug of estrogen and 1-4 mg of progestin. The increased BP is usually minimal, however severe hypertensive episodes can occur.
Hypertension is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke and many people are not even aware they may have it. High blood pressure is considered anything over 140/90. So if you regularly take any of these medications, make sure to get your blood pressure checked at each doctor’s visit and let your physician know what drugs you take and how often you take them.