Managing hypertension is important
Hypertension is the major risk factor for heart disease. Roughly every 34 seconds, one American has a heart-related event, and approximately every minute, an American will die of one.
Below are 10 most commonly used medications (e.g. prednisone, albuterol) that could result in hypertension and blood pressure fluctuations.
Corticosteroids could result in significant fluid and sodium retention causing increased blood pressure. There are steroids with higher mineralo-corticoid activity (affecting the adrenal gland) such as hydrocortisone and cortisone and lower mineralo-corticoid activity.
Albuterol (e.g. Ventolin, Proair)
Albuterol is a so-called rescue inhaler and used to prevent and treat wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness caused by asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It works as a bronchodilator resulting in the widening of airways.
Estrogens are a group of chemically similar steroid hormones. Many common medications such as birth control, hormone replacement therapies (HRT), cancer drugs, and others contain synthetic estrogens. Long-term exposure to these hormones can also increase the risks of breast, endometrial, and vaginal cancers in women (US Department of Health and Human Services 2002).
Venlafaxine (e.g. Effexor)
This medication is one of the commonly prescribed drugs for depression and anxiety disorders. It belongs to a class of medicines called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). The FDA has recommended caution when taking venlafaxine together with migraine drugs such as triptan. This combination can cause a so-called serotonin syndrome resulting in coma and high body temperature.
Decongestants (e.g. Afrin, Sudafed)
These medications work by narrowing the nasal vessels and consequently improving the swelling. Some of these drugs such as pseudoephedrine are combined with other products to produce methamphetamine (“Meth”) one of the most destructive and illegal street drugs. Most commonly available over the counter medications are oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).
ADHD medications (e.g. Ritalin, Adderall)
Most of the medications for treatment of ADHD belong to this class of stimulants and are dopamine reuptake inhibitors (increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain). Several diet pills contain stimulants.
Migraine medications (e.g Maxalt)
These medications are used to treat more than 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines. Most of these drugs belong to prescription medicine in a class of medicines called triptans. Triptans are serotonin receptor agonist and control migraine headaches by constricting blood vessels in the brain and relieving the swelling. The most commonly prescribed triptans are Zolmitriptan, Zoming, Sumatriptan (Imitrex) and (rizatriptan) Maxalt.
This medication is used in patients with chronic kidney disease who are predisposed to anemia. Erythropoietin could also increase blood pressure in patients with normal blood pressure and in hypertensive patients.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (e.g. aspirin, indomethacin, ibuprofen)
Studies have suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could increase mean arterial pressure by approximately 5.0 mm Hg. These medications could also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications such as diuretics and beta blockers. NSAIDs could also result in kidney failure and fluid retention that could cause a worsening of blood pressure.
Acetaminophen can also influence prostaglandin hemostasis causing high blood pressure. Prostaglandins usually help with dilating the vessels and reducing sodium re-absorption that could improve blood pressure and logically inhibiting prostaglandin will have the opposite effect on blood pressure. Researches have reported that 1 g acetaminophen taken 4 times daily could increase the supine and standing systolic blood pressures by 4–mm Hg.
- Dedier J, Stampfer MJ, Hankinson SE, et.al. Nonnarcotic analgesic use and the risk of hypertension in US women. Hypertension. 2002 Nov;40(5):604-8; discussion 601-3.
- Johnson AG, Nguyen TV, Day RO. Do nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs affect blood pressure? A meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 1994; 121: 289–300.Abstract/FREE Full Text