OTC Drugs Can Cause Hypertensionleading cause of hypertension in some people. Recently researcher from Harvard Medical School showed in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that people who took these drugs routinely had increased risks for hypertension. Even though the results suggest that the OTC drugs were not always a direct cause of hypertension the result were significant enough to offer warning signs to anyone who fit the study's profile.
The OTC Drugs Study
The study consisted of 16,000 men with normal blood pressure readings and it found that those who took these OTC drugs 6-7 days of the week had increased risks for developing hypertension in the future. Ibuprofen, it seems carried the most risk. Those who routinely took ibuprofen had a 38 percent higher risk in developing hypertension than those who did not take OTC drugs routinely. Acetaminophen increased one’s risk by 34 percent, while aspirin users had an increased risk of 26 percent.
Dr Mary Pickett from Harvard Medical School had this to say about the findings on OTC drugs:
“This study does not prove that the pain medicines caused high blood pressure for these men. Still, the study justifies some caution. These pain medicines can block chemicals known as 'prostaglandins,' and this can result in more tightly toned blood vessels. Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can cause retention of salt and water. These actions promote high blood pressure. While over-the-counter pain medicines are very useful, frequent use may have side effects.”Low Dose OTC Drugs & Hypertension
What I’d like to know however is whether low dose versions of these OTC drugs would have the same results in the study. Low dose aspirin has been shown to be quite beneficial for heart conditions as well as an enlarged prostate while ibuprofen has also been shown to be beneficial in lowering systemic inflammation and as a result lowering risks for other diseases such as prostate cancer and dementia. Although these OTC drugs might not be a cause of hypertension it would be nice to know if low dose versions would lower these risks while still providing the aforementioned benefits of disease prevention.
Archives of Internal Medicine, February 26, 2007
InteliHealth, March 30, 2007 - http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtPrint/WS/35320/35329/537895.html?d=dmtHMSContent&hide=t&k=basePrint