Drugs That Cause High Blood Pressure

By Linda Ray

  • Overview

    Drugs That Cause High Blood Pressure
    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is caused by a number of variables, from stress and obesity to diabetes and cancer. Many drugs also can cause high blood pressure. Prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs often carry side effects that increase blood pressure. Caffeine, alcohol and illegal drugs are known to cause high blood pressure as well. Sometimes the medicine used to treat high blood pressure turns on a patient and ends up creating even higher blood pressure readings. A physician can perform tests to find out which drugs may be contributing to high blood pressure.
  • Amphetamines

    Drugs that speed up the heart and increase blood flow are obvious culprits of elevated blood pressure levels. People who take amphetamines, even those prescribed by a doctor for weight loss or sleep disorders, should be monitored closely for blood pressure swings. When blood pressure is found to be elevated, patients must inform their doctors if they are taking any over-the-counter appetite suppressants. Stroke and heart attack are serious consequences associated with high blood pressure.
  • Hormone Replacements

    While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women is not a common cause of high blood pressure, reports indicate that women with a tendency toward high blood pressure may be adversely affected. Close blood pressure monitoring is recommended for women on HRT regimens. Synthetic hormones, such as prednisone and progestin, also are used to treat menopausal symptoms and show a higher increase in blood pressure side effects. The drug erythropoietin, used to treat anemia by increasing the production of red blood cells, has been reported to cause blood pressure spikes. It is a hormone that is often prescribed to patients with chronic diseases.


  • Migraine Medications

    While migraine medications often are used to treat high blood pressure because of the way they shrink blood vessels and decrease the flow of blood, they also have been known to cause the disease. Some migraine drugs increase blood pressure in order to relieve headaches. The migraines may be relieved, but patients are then put at further risk of stroke or heart attack from the high blood pressure. Migraine sufferers should never stop taking blood pressure medicine because suddenly stopping also can be a precursor to a stroke.
  • Cyclosporine

    Cyclosporine is a drug that is taken by transplant patients to keep their bodies from rejecting the transplanted organ. The risk of getting high blood pressure increases the longer the drug is taken and the higher the dosage given. Close blood pressure monitoring is important while taking this medication.
  • Decongestants

    Asthma medications and cold remedies that contain pseudophedrine or phenylephrine have been linked to cases of high blood pressure. Over-the-counter medications to treat the cold, flu and coughing may interfere with existing heart conditions and cause a spike in blood pressure. In addition, these drugs can interfere with the workings of blood pressure medication.
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