High blood pressure markedly increases risk for heart attacks and strokes. A study of 10,676 adults, average age 56, found that 47.2 percent had high blood pressure, and one in five of the subjects who had high blood pressure (>130/80) took medicines that can raise blood pressure (The American College of Cardiology Scientific Session & Expo, May 15–17, 2021). The blood-pressure-raising medicines taken most frequently were antidepressants (8.9 percent), NSAIDs (7.2 percent), and steroids (2.2 percent).
Realize that some prescription drugs are necessary for your well-being, so you should never stop any drug until you have discussed it in detail with your doctor. Here is a partial list of some medications that may raise blood pressure:
• migraine medicines
• weight loss drugs
• birth control hormones
• mineralocorticoids (to control electrolytes)
• some antibiotics such as sulfonamides
• some diabetic medications such as Glyburide
• medications to treat extreme sleepiness such as modafinil
• thyroid hormone, when overdosed
• biological drugs used to treat certain cancers and immune diseases such as psoriasis or arthritis
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Supplements
• nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve and others
• some cold medicines, cough medicines, decongestants and asthma medicines
• some herbal extracts such as ephedra, arnica, ginseng, guarana, licorice
• yohimbine and yohimbe extract (veterinary stimulants)
• some antacids and stomach medicines contain salt, which can raise blood pressure in some people
Other “Medicinal” Substances
• anabolic steroids and exercise-performance-enhancing drugs
• amphetamines and methamphetamine
• ecstasy (MDMA and derivatives)
Check with your doctor and go over the drugs and supplements you are taking that may be raising your blood pressure, to see which ones are essential for you and which ones can be changed or eliminated. You should not stop taking any prescription drug unless you have discussed it in detail with your doctor.
High blood pressure is associated with increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and premature death. I think that you should have an inexpensive upper arm blood pressure cuff and check your own blood pressure frequently. If your blood pressure repeatedly is greater than 120/80 just before you go to sleep at night, or over 130/90 at other times, you suffer from high blood pressure. You may need drugs to lower high blood pressure and you definitely need to follow the lifestyle rules for treating high blood pressure.
Gabe Mirkin, M.D., is a sports medicine doctor and fitness guru. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin has run more than 40 marathons and is now a serious tandem bike rider with his wife, Diana. His website is http://drmirkin.com/. Click to read Gabe’s full bio.