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Everyday Pain Relief: High Blood Pressure

Many common over-the-counter drugs taken for pain can push your high blood pressure even higher. Here's what you need to know.

The Pros and Cons of Pain Relief Drugs continued...

KETOPROFEN
Actron, Orudis KT

  • How it works. Ketoprofen blocks the effects of chemicals that increase the feeling of pain.

  • Benefits. Ketoprofen can lower fevers, ease pain, and reduce inflammation.

  • Side effects and risks. Do not use ketoprofen if you have high blood pressure, unless your health care provider has told you that it's safe. Ketoprofen can also impair the effectiveness of common blood pressure medicines like ace inhibitors (such as Lotensin, Capoten, and Vasotec) and beta blockers (such as Coreg, Lopressor, and Corgard.)

    Ketoprofen can cause heartburn, upset stomach, pain, and ulcers. It may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA requires that companies that sell ketoprofen highlight these risks. This drug isn't safe during the last three months of pregnancy.

    Some people are allergic to ketoprofen and other NSAIDs. It can cause hives and facial swelling. It can be dangerous to some people with asthma. In some cases, ketoprofen can slow down the body's natural healing process.

NAPROXEN
Aleve

  • How it works. Naproxen sodium blocks the effects of chemicals that increase the feeling of pain.

  • Benefits. Naproxen sodium can lower fevers, ease pain, and reduce inflammation.

  • Side effects and risks. Do not use naproxen sodium if you have high blood pressure, unless your doctor has said that it's safe. Naproxen sodium can also impair the effectiveness of common blood pressure medicines like ace inhibitors (such as Lotensin, Capoten, and Vasotec) and beta blockers (such as Coreg, Lopressor, and Corgard.)

    A recent study seems to show a link between naproxen sodium and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. More research needs to be done before doctors know for sure. For now, ask your health care provider for advice.

    Naproxen sodium can cause heartburn, upset stomach, pain, or ulcers. The FDA requires that companies that sell naproxen sodium highlight these risks. This drug isn't safe during the last three months of pregnancy.

    Some people are allergic to naproxen sodium and other NSAIDs. It can cause hives and facial swelling. It can be dangerous to some people with asthma. In some cases, naproxen sodium can slow down the body's natural healing process.

PRESCRIPTION PAIN RELIEVERS

Many painkillers -- including higher doses of NSAIDs -- are available by prescription. Since they are more powerful versions of over-the-counter NSAIDs, they often have the same or greater risks. Some examples are Daypro, Indocin, Lodine, Naprosyn, Relafen, and Voltaren.

Cox-2 inhibitors are a newer kind of NSAID. These medicines have recently come under fire for their dangers. Although these drugs are supposed to have fewer gastrointestinal side effects than standard NSAIDs, they can still cause some of the same problems. They may also raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Two of these drugs, Vioxx and Bextra, have been taken off the market because of various side effects. Celebrex is still available.

Narcotics are another type of prescription painkiller. Examples include OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. These drugs are only used in people with severe chronic pain. They don't pose a risk for people with high blood pressure. They do have other side effects, including constipation, fatigue, and a risk of addiction.

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