By James Beckerman, MD
If your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure, you'll need to make several changes to your daily routine — including watching what you eat, modifying your exercise routine and taking any medications as prescribed. But you'll also need to be cautious with any over-the-counter medications you take. While most OTCs are safe to take, some may increase blood pressure or cause adverse reactions when paired with prescribed blood pressure medications.
Remember, it's always important to carefully read the labels on OTC medication — and this becomes even more important when you have hypertension. If your blood pressure is over 120/80 mmHg or if you are taking prescription medication for your blood pressure, talk to your doctor before taking any OTC medicines or supplements.
People with controlled hypertension should take care when using any of the following types of OTC medications:
You may have heard that taking an aspirin a day can help keep the doctor away by preventing heart attack or stroke. However, many people are surprised to learn that directions for taking aspirin preventively are on the OTC medicine label. Before starting to take aspirin daily, be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks of taking aspirin daily and whether it should be part of your heart-health treatment plan.
Published June 19, 2013
Dr. James Beckerman is a MedHelp expert and contributor and cardiologist with the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute in Portland, Oregon. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and completed his medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University Hospital. He is the past Chair of the Oregon Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.