Over-the-counter pain meds raise the risk of high blood pressure — for men as well as women. A recent study indicates that all painkillers are potential culprits, they include:
- Acetaminophen: Anacin, Tylenol, Vanquish
- Aspirin: Bayer, Bufferin
- NSAIDs: Advil, Aleve, Motrin
This is yet more proof that over-the-counter does not mean safe. Some other problems with OTC painkillers are increased heart attack risk, stomach bleeding and liver damage.
The American Heart Association advised yesterday that doctors be cautious in prescribing painkillers, particularly Celebrex, because of the risks. Today’s New York Times warns that few patients know the appropriate dose of acetaminophen or the havoc it can wreak on one’s liver.
No wonder I try so hard to tough it out.
1 thought on “OTC Pain Meds & High Blood Pressure”
Vanquish: Do you suppose the 33 mg of caffeine it contains might be part of the problem as well as the acetaminophen? 🙂
Yes, recent advice to physicians has been to just not prescribe anything for pain unless absolutely necessary. My concern is that this will result in a backlash of OTC use in the uneducated. (Face it, not everyone reads this blog!)
Yet, untreated pain can result, paradoxically, in blood pressure elevations. Clearly, it’s time to focus less on pharmaceuticals, and more on whole person strategies.
I’m not saying medications are bad, when used properly. I’m saying we need to look at the headache sufferer in the larger context and address the entire problem. It’s a pity the health care system does not really reward such a health promotion dynamic.
“Yet, untreated pain can result, paradoxically, in blood pressure elevations.” I didn’t realize there was a long-term effect like that. Very interesting.
Thanks for the “whole person” comment. As you know, it’s what patients are begging for. . .