Can you take over-the-counter medications if you have high blood pressure?

Patients who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure  (hypertension) should always check with a pharmacist or their doctor to see if they can take over-the-counter medications.  Some of these medications can cause serious side-effects in patients with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure patients need to be aware of the following over-the-counter medications:

-Decongestants  and cold and flu medications such as pseudoephedrine, which can raise blood pressure

-Pain medication such as ibuprofen which can hurt the kidneys in high blood pressure patients

-Some antacids and stomach medicines are high in sodium which can affect blood pressure

-Herbal medications and dietary supplements, which can raise blood pressure.  Examples are ephedra and ma huang.

-Over-the-counter weight loss drugs can cause complications for patients with high blood pressure

There are some safe alternatives for patients with hypertension, so ask your pharmacist or doctor what is safe to take.

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