Many Common Drugs Can Raise Blood Pressure


A very important study of 27,599 adults, average age 47-50, showed that almost 15 percent of North American adults and almost 19 percent of those with high blood pressure take medications that can raise blood pressure (JAMA Intern Med, November 22, 2021). The blood-pressure-raising medicines taken most frequently were antidepressants, NSAIDs, steroids, and estrogens.

Realize that some prescription drugs are necessary for your well-being, so you should never stop any drug until you have discussed it with your doctor. Here is a partial list of some medications that may raise blood pressure:

Prescription Drugs
• migraine medicines
• antidepressants
• stimulants
• weight loss drugs
• birth control hormones
• estrogen
• testosterone
• corticosteroids
• mineralocorticoids (to control electrolytes)
• some antibiotics
• some diabetic medications such as Glyburide or sulfonureas
• 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
• aspirin
• 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
• alcohol
• anabolic steroids and exercise-performance-enhancing drugs
• cocaine
• amphetamines and methamphetamine
• ecstasy (MDMA and derivatives)
• nicotine
• caffeine

My Recommendations
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.

Checked 12/15/22