Medications That Can Raise Your Blood Pressure

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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With new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association, the goal blood pressure for all adults is now less than 130/80. The first number of your blood pressure, 130, is the systolic blood pressure and the second number, 80, is diastolic.

It is estimated almost half of Americans may meet the criteria for high blood pressure (BP), which can increase the risk for serious adverse cardiovascular events. If you are one of these people, look at your medications as a potential culprit.

Here are 10 medications known to raise systolic blood pressure by two points or more and diastolic by one or more:

  1. NSAIDS. Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil and naproxen raise blood pressure. NSAIDs are very likely the class of drug that raises blood pressure of more people in the United States than any other class.
  2. Duloxetine (Cymbalta). Used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, Duloxetine raises systolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 points at approved doses. Higher doses of Duloxetine cause greater elevations in blood pressure and thus an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
  3. Savella. Used for the treatment of depression and fibromyalgia, Savella raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by almost 3 points.
  4. Vyvanse. Vyvanse is used for the treatment of attention deficit disorder and binge eating disorder in adults. Vyvanse at a dose of 70 mg a day raises blood pressure almost 2 points compared to placebo.
  5. Venlafaxine XR. This is the generic for Effexor XR and is used for the treatment of depression and anxiety. The average increase in diastolic blood pressure with Venlafaxine XR 150 mg a day is almost 7 points.
  6. Adderall XR. Also known as amphetamine salts combination XR, Adderall XR raises systolic blood pressure 2-3 points and even higher at higher doses.
  7. Wellbutrin (bupropion). At higher doses of bupropion, systolic blood pressure is 3 points higher compared to those taking a placebo.
  8. Celebrex (Celecoxib) and Meloxicam. Though less of a risk than with NSAIDS, COX-2 inhibitors elevate blood pressure which may contribute to the elevated risk of cardiovascular events with these medications
  9. Estrogen-containing birth control pills. The lower doses used today are far less likely to raise blood pressure, but birth control pills are still known to cause a small increase in blood pressure.
  10. Prednisone. Steroids, like prednisone, raise blood pressure by causing sodium and water retention.

If you are on these medications, monitor your blood pressures at home to ensure they’re not bumping up your BP.

Dr O.

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