Nearly one in five Americans with high blood pressure use medications that can cause blood pressure to spike, a preliminary study shows.
The researchers said the findings are concerning, given how many people have difficulty controlling their high blood pressure.
“A large number of Americans are not meeting their blood pressure goals,” lead researcher Dr. John Vitarello, an internal medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston shares.
This study points to medications as one possible culprit. Vitarello says doctors and patients should be aware of that.
Looking at data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Vitarello’s team found that about one-fifth of Americans with high blood pressure were using medications that can raise those numbers.
Which drugs can raise blood pressure?
The most commonly implicated drugs were antidepressants; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).
Cold and allergy remedies are other medications to be wary of, Yang, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle shares.
Those remedies may contain stimulant decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, which can constrict blood vessels. So people with high blood pressure should avoid products that contain a stimulant, Yang adds.
Steroid medications used to dampen inflammation and immune activity in conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, or after an organ transplant may also be a culprit because patients are kept on them for too long at high doses.
“Steroids are very good at tamping down inflammation and save many lives, but they can also cause harm,” says researcher Dr. Paul Stewart, executive dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds.
“One of the major side effects is high blood pressure, which is a major health hazard,” Stewart adds. “It’s a risk factor for