Medications to Avoid

Medications to Avoid

July 13, 2010
By Johns Hopkins Health Alerts; www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com


If you have high blood pressure, you should know that certain prescription and over-the-counter medications may raise your blood pressure. Recently a reader asked us: Which medications and dietary supplements should I avoid if I have high blood pressure? Here’s our advice …

A number of drugs and dietary supplements can worsen blood pressure. Medications that can worsen hypertension include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil); corticosteroids like prednisone; cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune; used to suppress the immune system); epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit; used to treat anemia in cancer patients); estrogens such as those in hormone replacement therapy; migraine drugs such as sumatriptan (Imitrex); the weight loss drug sibutramine (Meridia); and nasal decongestants. Over-the-counter cough, cold, and asthma medications also may raise blood pressure, so always check with your doctor before using one.

It’s also important to get your doctor’s approval before using any dietary or herbal supplements. These products are not regulated by the FDA, but in some cases, they can be just as powerful as any drug. For example, the herbal supplement ephedra has caused numerous deaths due to its deleterious effects on blood pressure and the heart. Appetite suppressants can also raise blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Bottom line: Make sure all of your doctors know that you have high blood pressure and be sure to ask whether any new medication or supplement will have a negative effect on your blood pressure control.

© 2010 Medletter Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

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