What Medicines Cause High Blood Pressure?

By Sabah Karimi

  • Overview

    High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be the result of genetics, environmental factors and even some foods that cause the blood vessels and arteries to constrict. High blood pressure can also be the result of certain medications and herbal supplements; people who have a history of heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease need to take special care when taking these medications, even on a short-term basis.
  • Types

    Certain types of over-the-counter medications, recreational drugs and prescription drugs can cause high blood pressure. These include: Ritalin; estrogen and birth control pills; synthetic hormones; amphetamines; hormones used to treat anemia; migraine medications; cyclosporine; and asthma medications. Diet pills that contain high concentrations of caffeine and appetite suppressants may also contribute to blood pressure problems; these drugs constrict the blood vessels and increase the heart rate, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Effects

    Signs that medication has triggered high blood pressure may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, difficulty breathing and shooting pain in the arms or legs. People who are experiencing rapidly rising rates of blood pressure may be at risk for a stroke or heart attack and must get medical help immediately. If the blood pressure remains too high for an extended period of time and is left untreated, the individual may suffer from paralysis or irreversible organ damage.

  • Considerations

    The American Heart Association states that nearly 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure cases do not have a known cause. However, many risk factors can be reduced or eliminated from the lifestyle. Individuals with a history of high blood pressure or those who are genetically predisposed to cardiovascular disease are encouraged to eliminate or reduce alcohol and caffeine from the diet. Reducing or eliminating the use of certain medications, eating a healthy diet and learning how to manage stress properly can help to improve overall health and reduce the risk of blood pressure spikes.
  • Treatments

    If a doctor has prescribed a certain medication that ends up triggering high blood pressure, she may need to adjust the dosage or find an alternative method for treatment. Drugs that may help control blood pressure include diuretics such as Bumex, Hygroton and Lozol; Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors such as Capoten, Accupril, Mavik and Monopril; Beta Blockers such as Cartrol, Sectral, Blocadren and Inderal; and Alpha Blockers such as Cardura, Aldocholor and Aldoril.
  • Warnings

    Some herbal supplements and all-natural products have also been linked to high blood pressure. Herbal stimulants such as green tea extract, synephrine, pseudoephdrine, ephedra and bitter orange extract may cause a rapid heartbeat and trigger a heart attack. Anyone considering taking these types of supplements should consult with a physician to ensure they are not at risk for a heart attack and that they are healthy enough to tolerate the effects of these pills.
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