Drugs and Supplements That Raise Blood Pressure

Drugs and Supplements That Raise Blood Pressure

Blood pressure can be affected by many over-the-counter medications and supplements. In fact, even eating black licorice can result in elevated blood pressure, as well as causing dangerously low potassium levels in the body — and that can lead to heart arrhythmias, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

And according to the Mayo Clinic, some drugs and supplements can also interfere with medications intended to lower your blood pressure.

Here are some medications, supplements, and other substances that can raise your blood pressure. If you are using any of these products and are worried about the effect it could have on your blood pressure, talk to your doctor.

  • Pain medications. Certain pain-relief and anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol and Aleve can cause you to retain water, creating kidney problems and increasing your blood pressure. Ask your doctor which pain medication is best for you.  
  • Antidepressants. Certain antidepressant drugs can cause an increase in blood pressure by affecting several chemicals in your brain. Examples include Prozac and Effexor, according to the Mayo Clinic.  
  • Caffeine. About 200-300 mg of caffeine can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure, say experts at the Mayo Clinic. But many experts disagree that drinking coffee has a long-term effect on hypertension. Researchers at Harvard Medical School say that drinking coffee may not raise blood pressure in habitual drinkers, but people who are not used to drinking coffee can see a temporary rise in their pressure after drinking regular or decaf.  
  • Decongestants. These drugs narrow your blood vessels, which makes it harder for blood to flow, increasing blood pressure. Decongestants may also make some blood pressure medications less effective. Two known culprits are Sudafed and Neo-Synephrine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a decongestant that doesn’t affect blood pressure.

Herbal supplements may also trigger high blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Arnica, commonly used topically to reduce pain, is toxic to the heart and can raise blood pressure if taken internally. Ginseng is thought to increase sexual performance but also causes hypertension. Ephedra, used for weight loss, can cause dangerous and even life-threatening increases in heart rate and blood pressure.

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