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ACC: Common Medications Can Raise Blood Pressure

FRIDAY, May 14, 2021 -- Nearly one in five adults with hypertension reports taking medications associated with raising blood pressure (BP) levels, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held virtually from May 15 to 17.

John Vitarello, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (10,676 participants; 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018) to identify medications associated with BP elevation.

The researchers found that 47.2 percent of participants had hypertension, among whom 79.5 percent had BP above the recommended goal of 130/80 mm Hg. Nearly one in five adults with hypertension (19.0 percent) reported using one or more BP-raising medications, while 3.3 percent reported using multiple BP-raising medications. Among adults with hypertension, the most common classes of BP-raising medications were antidepressants (8.9 percent), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (7.2 percent), and steroids (2.2 percent). Stopping a single BP-raising medication could improve population hypertension control rates by an estimated 4.8 percent.

"These are medications that we commonly take -- both over-the-counter and prescribed medications -- that may have the unintended side effect of raising blood pressure and could have adverse effects on our heart health," Vitarello said in a statement. "Based on our findings, we need to be more aware of polypharmacy in older adults who also have the highest burden of high blood pressure."

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