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February 2024

Is Something in Your Medicine Cabinet Raising Your Blood Pressure?

If you’re trying to control your blood pressure, you probably know that actions such as limiting salt and managing stress can help. But it’s possible that what you don’t know is hurting your efforts.

Sometimes, a medicine or supplement that you take to improve other aspects of your health can cause your blood pressure to soar.

Here are 6 common ones to be mindful of:

  1. NSAID pain relievers. These common over-the-counter medicines raise blood pressure because they prevent the kidneys from functioning normally. Some common NSAIDs, short for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are ibuprofen and naproxen.

  2. Antidepressants. Certain types of these mental health medicines can affect blood pressure by altering how our brains and bodies naturally operate.

  3. Decongestants. Using these stuffy-nose-relieving medicines can raise your blood pressure and even interfere with certain blood pressure medicines you might be taking. Some experts recommend that if you have high blood pressure, you should treat your sniffles with something else instead.

  4. Hormonal birth control. Several types of hormonal contraception can raise blood pressure. And some can even increase your risk for stroke and heart attack if your blood pressure is already high.

  5. Herbal supplements. Some supplements, such as licorice, Saint-John’s-wort, and green tea, can increase blood pressure or decrease the effects of certain blood pressure medicines.

  6. Stimulants. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, and some experts say people with high blood pressure should avoid it. Other stimulants, including those found in some sports-performance or weight-loss products, can even lead to serious cardiovascular problems.

Before starting any new medicine or supplements, talk with your healthcare provider. Also, remember to stay vigilant. This is because high blood pressure doesn’t often cause obvious symptoms. So, it’s important to check your numbers regularly. A normal blood pressure is less than 120 mmHg systolic and less than 80 diastolic.


Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik, MBA, BSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2023
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