High Blood Pressure for Dummies
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Plenty of drugs are on the market that actually raise blood pressure on their own or because they block the action of a drug that lowers blood pressure. If you can possibly avoid them, do so. Sometimes, however, the problem that makes you need the other drug is so severe that you can't avoid it. You then have to use the drugs for high blood pressure to overcome the blood pressure elevation of the essential drug.

Monitor your blood pressure whenever you start or stop a drug. The new drug may raise the blood pressure or block your own blood pressure drugs. A drug that you were taking and are now stopping may also have interacted with your blood pressure medication in some way, so that your pressure was under control when you used the drug but will rise when you stop it.

Many cold medications contain drugs that cause constriction of arteries and elevation of blood pressure. You need to read the label on any cold medication that you plan to use. The label should say clearly that it contains medications that should not be taken by a person who has high blood pressure. If uncertain, check with your doctor before you use it.

Certain diet pills contain phenylpropa-nolamine. This drug, which is similar to amphetamine, raises blood pressure. You shouldn't use these drugs if you have high blood pressure already. Yet millions of people take them to slim down.

Of the drugs that your doctor may prescribe for you, many steroids, such as cortisone or prednisone, raise blood pressure. Several of the antidepressant drugs, particularly trimipramine and venlafaxine, have caused sustained increases in blood pressure. Other antidepressant drugs from the class called monoamine oxidase inhibitors raise blood pressure by preventing the breakdown of epinephrine. Drugs in this class include phenylzine and tranylcypromine. Any of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents also raise blood pressure. The worst offenders are indomethacin, naprosyn, and ibuprofen, especially in large doses.

Certain drugs that fight against your blood pressure medications make your blood pressure medication less effective. Numerous drugs fall into this category, some of which you can't avoid if you have certain problems. For example, if you have kidney disease, you may have to take erythropoietin to combat anemia. As much as you don't need another way for your blood pressure to elevate, erythropoietin will do it. But you have to take it because it's the only way to increase your blood count -- besides transfusions, which don't tend to keep your count higher for very long.

Colestipol, a drug for lowering cholesterol, is another one that fights against blood pressure medications. Fortunately, the choices for treating cholesterol are numerous, so this drug can be stopped, if necessary. Cholestyramine is also a cholesterol-lowering drug with the same tendency to raise blood pressure.

Oral contraceptives, when they contained higher amounts of estrogen, were notorious for raising blood pressure. The newer preparations with less estrogen are much better in that respect. You still should have your blood pressure checked before you start taking an oral contraceptive and have it checked every so often after you're on them. Estrogen taken for menopause, however, may actually lower blood pressure.

Some antacids contain an abundance of salt, which you know doesn't help your blood pressure. Check the label before you decide to buy a particular antacid. If you're taking in 900 milligrams of salt each time your stomach aches, you aren't doing your blood pressure any favors. You can find plenty of good choices, such as various calcium-containing antacids and magnesium-containing antacids, so read the label to see what you're getting!

Illegal drugs that raise blood pressure, such as cocaine, shouldn't be taken in the first place, much less by a person who has high blood pressure.

Some drugs may raise blood pressure in only one person -- you! Check with your doctor to make sure that your new medication doesn't raise your blood pressure or block your blood pressure drugs.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Alan L. Rubin, MD, is a physician in private practice and the author of the bestselling Diabetes For Dummies, Diabetes Cookbook For Dummies, and Thyroid For Dummies.

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