What Medications Should I Avoid if I Have High Blood Pressure?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sixty-seven million (i.e. one in 3 people) American adults have high blood pressure. Only half of the 67 million people, who suffer from high blood pressure, have their condition under control (CDC, 2014). What is high blood pressure? Well, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when there is pressure (tension) in your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from your heart to all of your tissues and organs. A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80, while a blood pressure that is 120/80 to 139/89 is considered “pre-hypertensive” (borderline high blood pressure). A blood pressure that is 140/90 or higher is considered “hypertensive” (high blood pressure) (Medicine Net, 2014).

High blood pressure is a common symptom, and/or cause of a variety of illnesses and medical conditions. Mild high blood pressure can persist for many years without noticeable symptoms, however, over the years, as you age, the risk of developing high blood pressure increases. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available for high blood pressure. Some of these treatment options include: high blood pressure medications, and lifestyle changes (i.e. a healthy diet, regular exercise, and an avoidance of nicotine). Although there are several medications that are beneficial for high blood pressure, there are some medications that you should avoid, if you have this condition. If you are wondering what medications to stay away from, if you have high blood pressure, you have come to the right place. This article will teach you all of the medications that could be harmful for you, if you have this condition.

Listed below are some medications that you should avoid, if you have high blood pressure:

Antihistamines & Decongestants

Do you have a cold, sinus headache, or sinus pressure that you want to relieve? If so, be cautious when selecting a cold or sinus remedy. Why? Well, most antihistamines and decongestants raise your blood pressure, which if you already have uncontrolled high blood pressure, can be dangerous. Antihistamines are often used to prevent allergies, postnasal drip, and hay fever, while decongestants are generally used to relieve sinus (i.e. pressure, pain and headaches), and remove mucus from your nasal passages. If you have high blood pressure, it is best that you avoid antihistamines and decongestants, unless otherwise instructed by your physician.

Oral Contraceptives

It is important to exercise caution when using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) to prevent pregnancy or regulate menstrual cycles because they can raise your blood pressure. In most cases, women with high blood pressure are prescribed oral contraceptives that fit their particular needs. Moreover, these women are encouraged to have their blood pressure carefully monitored, before beginning a birth control regimen. If possible avoid using oral contraceptives, in favor of other forms of birth control (i.e. condoms).

Weight Loss Drugs

Are you trying to lose weight? If the answer is “yes,” then you should avoid weight loss drugs, if you have high blood pressure. Why? Well, some weight loss drugs contain caffeine, which can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket. In fact, according to a 2008 research study, a large number of people, who took the weight loss drug, Meridia, experienced a significant rise in their systolic blood pressure (the amount of pressure that your blood places on your blood vessels, as your heart beats). Manufacturers of Meridia attached a label to the drug, warning consumers that the drug was not appropriate for those who have high blood pressure due to sharp and sudden increases in blood pressure.

Over-the Counter Medications

Some over-the-counter medications should also be avoided, if you have high blood pressure. For instance, avoid or reduce the amount of aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen that you ingest because they can cause you to retain fluid (sodium retention). They can also cause your blood vessels to expand, leading to a rise in blood pressure.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2014). High blood pressure facts. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm


Cunha. J. P. (2014). What is high blood pressure? Medicine Net. Retrieved from http://www.onhealth.com/high_blood_pressure/page2.htm#what_is_high_blood_pressure
Mayo Clinic. (2014). High blood pressure (Hypertension). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/blood-pressure/art-20045245


NBC News. (2005). Tylenol linked to high blood pressure in women. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8961817/#.VEb4lZAo6so