What Medications Should I Avoid If I Have High Blood Pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , sixty-seven million American adults have high blood pressure. Only half of the 67 million people, who suffer from high blood pressure, have their condition under control . What is high blood pressure? Well, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when there is pressure in your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from your heart to all of your tissues and organs. A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80, while a blood pressure that is 120/80 to 139/89 is considered “pre-hypertensive” . A blood pressure that is 140/90 or higher is considered “hypertensive” .
Listed below are some medications that you should avoid, if you have high blood pressure:
Antihistamines & Decongestants
Do you have a cold, sinus headache, or sinus pressure that you want to relieve? If so, be cautious when selecting a cold or sinus remedy. Why? Well, most antihistamines and decongestants raise your blood pressure, which if you already have uncontrolled high blood pressure, can be dangerous. Antihistamines are often used to prevent allergies, postnasal drip, and hay fever, while decongestants are generally used to relieve sinus , and remove mucus from your nasal passages. If you have high blood pressure, it is best that you avoid antihistamines and decongestants, unless otherwise instructed by your physician.
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Over-the Counter Medications
What Are Different Types Of Allergy Medicines
Today, multiple products are available to treat several allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are used for relief of runny nose, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes. Second-generation antihistamines are used more often for seasonal allergies because they do not cause as much drowsiness as older antihistamines, and their effects last longer. Medications in this category include the following:
Oral decongestants, such as the following, are available for relief of congestion or stuffy nose:
Steroid nasal sprays, such as the following, are also effective at relieving nasal congestion:
Antihistamine nasal sprays, such as the following, can target allergy symptoms directly in the nose and sinuses:
Saline nasal sprays and rinses are also effective at clearing nasal passages and relieving congestion. Common names for saline nasal sprays and rinses include the following:
- Simply Saline
- Neti Pot
Antihistamine eye drops can be beneficial for treating itchy and watery eyes. The following products are commonly used for long-lasting relief:
How Do I Know Which Antihistamine To Take
Because there are so many antihistamine products, both over-the-counter and prescription, and because they are used to treat so many different conditions, you may need help figuring out which medication to take. For minor ailments, you can probably take over-the-counter products. You can read the package labeling and match your symptoms to the labeled symptoms. Also, never hesitate to ask the pharmacist. They are highly schooled in the actions and effects and side effects of drugs. You may need to try different antihistamines to find the best medication to manage your symptoms.
If you need a prescription antihistamine, you and your healthcare provider will work together to figure out what medication will be best for you. Many drugs interact with antihistamines, so your healthcare provider will want to know what medical conditions you have and medications you are currently taking. They will also want to know if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Some antihistamines are not recommended in pregnancy because they may cause birth defects in very high doses. Antihistamines can pass into breast milk, so you should consult with your healthcare provider before using antihistamines if you are breastfeeding.
When To Be Careful
Many people may cope with seasonal allergies by taking over the counter allergy medications. The three classes of allergy medications include antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory drugs. While these medications are not generally dangerous by any means, there are some circumstances that warrant caution. Sometimes, when a patient has high blood pressure, decongestant drugs or a medication formulated with a decongestant can be problematic.
Pseudoephedrine in particular can raise blood pressure and increase your heart rate, which could be dangerous in someone with already high blood pressure. Other potential threats include Oxymetazoline and Phenylephrine, so be sure to check the labels on your medications if you’re shopping for over the counter allergy medications at the drugstore. Decongestants work by tightening the blood vessels to dry up the mucus membrane in the nose. For a stuffy, runny nose this is excellent. The problem is that blood vessel constriction also raises blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, these drugs can also contribute to atrial fibrillation, a type of heart rhythm disruption. When it comes to medication, you can never be too careful. Of course, everyone’s body is different. Your doctor can help determine what medications are safest for you.
Benadryl And High Blood Pressure Medications
The relationship between Benadryl and high blood pressure also emanates from the potential of Benadryl to interact with blood pressure medications. For example, Benadryl may interact with Betablockers which are drugs used to slow down the heart rate in order to reduce high blood pressure.
Betablockers are also used to treat certain heart conditions. Diphenhydramine or Benadryl, as it is better known, may affect how well other medications work or how well Benadryl itself works.
Are Nasal Sprays Harmful For People With Hypertension
Nasal sprays are actually an option that is less impactful to use on the rest of your body. Nasal sprays act directly on the nose’s blood vessels and have less impact anywhere else in the body.
If your allergy symptoms include nasal congestion, here are some options that are generally safe to use as decongestants:
- steroid nasal sprays , Nasacort, and Rhinocort )
- antihistamine nasal sprays and Patanase )
- saline nasal sprays or rinses, such as Ayr, Ocean, SimplySaline, or Neti Pot
About High Blood Pressure:
According to the National Health Statistics Reports for the United States, the single most frequent diagnosis given out by doctors is “Hypertension,” commonly known as high blood pressure.
In 2006, the most recent year for these statistics, over 35 million visits to doctors resulted in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
In simple terms, high blood pressure is an increase in the pressure within your arteries over 140/90. This increase in pressure is much like an increase in the pressure within a pipe. The higher the pressure, the harder the pump has to work, and the harder it is to contain that pressure within the pipe.
Therefore high blood pressure is well known to increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack , and to increase the risk of stroke . An increase in blood pressure is well recognized to be related to weight gain.
However, there are many other causes, and not everyone who is overweight develops high blood pressure. One of the more interesting and certainly overlooked causes of high blood pressure may be food allergies.
Coricidin And Benadryl: Alternatives That Wont Affect Blood Pressure
If you’re looking for a safe cold medicine for high blood pressure, consider Coricidin. Coricidin is an over-the-counter multi-symptom product marketed specifically for patients with high blood pressure. It comes in many varieties and contains different active ingredients that target coughs, colds, chest congestion and allergies.
For runny nose, drainage, or allergy symptoms, you may want to consider diphenhydramine, marketed under the brand name Benadryl. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that will help keep your sinuses clear. Drowsiness is a common side effect of this medication, so it is best taken at bedtime. For non-drowsy antihistamines, consider Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra.
Guaifenesin, the active ingredient in Mucinex, is an expectorant that helps you cough up mucus when congested. This medication is also safe to use if you have high blood pressure.
Side Effects Of Antihistamines
Older antihistamines, especially over-the-counter drugs, may cause drowsiness or dizziness. However, newer second and third generation antihistamines are non-sedating, meaning they do not cause drowsiness and are safe to take before most activities. Antihistamines can also cause dryness as a side effect, especially after prolonged use.
Can Prescription Drugs Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Erections involve chemical signals, nerve impulses, complicated blood pressure changes, and overall fitness in systems ranging from your heart and hormones to your mood. When medication changes how one of these factors works—like blood pressure medication or depression medication—ED is a possible side effect.
More Meds That Can Raise Blood Pressure
Besides pseudoephedrine, cold and allergy sufferers with hypertension should be wary of:
- Afrin nasal spray
- Multi-symptom cold products with NSAIDs
If you take prescription medications that increase your blood pressure, such as Adderall or albuterol inhalers, the oxymetazoline in Afrin can also increase your blood pressure through a combined effect.
NSAIDs cause the body to retain fluid and may affect kidney function, which may increase blood pressure.
Fortunately, if you have high blood pressure, there are safer alternatives when cold and allergy season come around.
What Allergy Medicines Can I Safely Take If I Have Heart Disease Or High Blood Pressure
Oklahoma Heart Institute Director of Interventional Laboratories, Dr. Wayne Leimbach, shares insights on allergies, heart disease and high blood pressure on our blog today.
Springtime brings not only beautiful weather and beautiful flowers, but it also brings high pollen counts and suffering to people with allergies. Many people often ask what allergy medicines can I safely take if I have heart disease or high blood pressure. Many allergy medications include decongestants that can raise blood pressure, create palpitations and interfere with some other heart medications.
Medications that often can be safely used by people with significant allergies include nasal corticosteroids. In addition, antihistamines are very effective. The antihistamines include fexofenadine , cetirizine , loratadine and diphenhydramine .
Often manufactures will include a decongestant with the antihistamines in order to provide additional control of the runny nose often seen with allergies. Manufacturers will often indicate which of the antihistamines also contain a decongestant by adding the letter D to the name of the medicine. These decongestants can be phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine or oxymetazoline.
Therefore, advertised medicines such as Allegra, Zyrtec, or Claritin should be safe for most patients with heart disease and allergies; however, Allegra-D, Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D could cause problems for patients with allergies and heart disease.
When You Are Allergic To Your Blood Pressure Medications
Some allergies show up on your skin, but some attacks the cells in your kidneys, liver, joints and blood. These reactions can be very severe. If you think you are experiencing one inform your doctor immediately.
The most severe form is called Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening disorder in which your airways become so narrow that you cannot breathe. That is what happened to me. You require emergency treatment. In an emergency you would inject an EpiPen into the side of your leg, and it is filled with a drug called epinephrine, it will open your airways.
The thing is I did not realize at first that I was having an allergic reaction to my medication. Looking back I was having reactions for years.
The Journal of the American Medical Associated published a report that states that adverse drug reactions to prescription drugs used as prescribed are the fourth to sixth leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Drugs are sometimes necessary, they can be lifesaving, but even the best of drugs are by their very nature have unwanted side effects. So, whenever there is an alternative therapy for reversing hypertension or to , it is advisable to jump on it regardless of the efforts that may be involved.
United States National Library of Medicine
Do Antihistamines Cause Dementia
Long term use of some antihistamines may increase your risk of dementia. Diphenhydramine blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is vital for memory and learning. Diphenhydramine increased the risk of dementia by 54% in one 3,000 patient study followed for seven years.
Three Types Of Allergy Medications And Their Relationship To Your Heart
Allergy medications are broken down into three smaller sub-categories: antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, and decongestants. Each type of medicine reacts differently with the heart, so it’s important for patients with abnormal heart conditions to pay close attention when browsing the allergy medication aisle.
Antihistamines, which are commonly used to treat symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing, are generally safe for patients with abnormal heart conditions. However, the FDA has warned that antihistamines taken in conjunction with some high blood pressure medications may cause a spike in blood pressure. Most varieties of anti-inflammatories are also unlikely to cause an adverse reaction when taken in the correct dosage, but overdoses can result in an increase in blood pressure as well.
Decongestants, on the other hand, work by constricting blood vessels in the mucus membrane of the nose. Patients taking decongestants can also experience blood vessel constriction in other areas of the body, putting them at critical risk for an unsafe increase in blood pressure or pulse. Unless instructed by a doctor, patients with high blood pressure or a heart arrhythmia should avoid decongestants, as well as antihistamines that may have a decongestant added to them .
Shopping Smart For The Heart
The next time you’re staring down the long shelves of the cough and cold aisle, look past the list of symptoms in bold letters and make sure you consider the active ingredients in the smaller print.
If you suffer from hypertension, your heart will thank you.
And don’t forget, there’s more to decongesting than taking medication: drink more liquids, try using a humidifier, consider rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution and get lots of rest.
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Step 1: Is My Medication Still Necessary
The first step in the process is always to reevaluate if the medication that’s causing the problem is even necessary in the first place. Do you still need the medication that you’re taking? When you’re experiencing medically-induced ED, this has to be your starting point. Obviously, you shouldn’t make this decision on your own and should instead have a simple conversation with your healthcare provider about it. Remind your healthcare provider of the medications you’re taking and explain any symptoms or side effects—like ED.
Tips For Making The Most Of Your Allergy Medications
As allergy season approaches, you should start taking your medication even before your symptoms begin. Ask your doctor for guidance if you’re not exactly sure when to start. As with most medication, make sure to drink plenty of water.
Paying attention to pollen can go a long way too. Try avoiding outdoor activity when the pollen count is high – usually in the morning. Removing your shoes before coming indoors can lower the amount of pollen you track in.
Treats Mild To Moderate Inflammation In Allergy Sufferers
Mast cell stabilizers are often used alongside other allergy treatments to help alleviate mild to moderate inflammation. These treatments work by preventing histamine from being released by the mast cells, which are the cells that produce and store histamine.
Mast cell stabilizers are available as eye drops for itchy eyes, also called allergic conjunctivitis, and as nasal sprays for nasal allergy symptoms. As with many drugs, it may take several weeks to start working at its best.
Talk With Your Doctor Or Pharmacist Before Allergy Season Gets The Best Of You
Taking a proactive approach to allergies with a medication that’s right for your needs – especially if you have blood pressure issues – can make seasonal allergies much less disruptive. Talk with your health care provider and check the Optum Perks website to see how you might be able to save on your prescriptions.
Antihistamines And Your Heart Risk
Every week I see allergic patients who are avoiding antihistamine medications because of a concern about their heart or blood pressure. But Most of this worry is outdated and unneeded.
Firstly, let’s discuss the antihistamines themselves: older generation antihistamines like diphenhydramine , hydroxyzine or chlorpheneramine are messier chemicals with more side effects such as sedation and dry mouth. Versus newer generation antihistamines like ceterizine , loratadine or fexofenadine have fewer side effects and a bit more targeted action in the body.
High Blood Pressure Risk. The antihistamines alone are not associated with high blood pressure or making blood pressure worse. However many times the antihistamines are bundled with a decongestant that will raise your blood pressure. We typically only recommend taking the combination antihistamine-decongestants on an occasional basis “when really feeling sick” and they should be avoided with poorly controlled blood pressure. To be safe, just stick with the plain antihistamine meds for allergies if you have high blood pressure.
Of course at some point I will remind you that many allergy symptoms, like congestion, sinus blockage and runny nose, may respond nicely to or allergy treatments to permanently solve the root problem.
Managing A Cold With Hypertension
If you can’t take a decongestant because of high blood pressure, there are other ways to reduce your cold or allergy symptoms:
Take Coricidin HBP, which is free of decongestants
Drink plenty of fluids — including water, juice, tea and soup — to prevent dehydration and clear mucus from your lungs
Take a pain reliever such as Tylenol or Motrin for fever, sore throat, body aches and headache
Flush your sinuses with a saline spray to relieve nasal congestion
Soothe a sore or scratchy throat with lozenges
Use a vaporizer or humidifier if necessary to boost humidity
Get plenty of rest
Return to your doctor after five to seven days to make sure you’re on the road to recovery
My Allergic Reaction Symptoms
One winter my tongue started feeling heavy as usual – this happened every winter. My acupuncturist said I had dampness within my body and an acupuncture treatment always cleared it right up.
But this time I did not go for my acupuncture treatment due to the weather. It was snowing every other day, the weather was bad, and the evenings were unusually dark.
My tongue kept getting heavier. With my mouth getting so dry even when I drank water it was still dry. At nights I would wake up struggling to breathe, shaking my head to get some air in and drinking even more water.
With all this happening, I still didn’t realize that I was having a life-threatening experience.
My tongue was choking me, I am struggling to take deep breaths and not paying attention until my heart started racing, and my blood pressure spiking. That was when it hit me that something was really wrong.
Oh, I am still taking my blood pressure medication completely unaware of the danger that was brewing. All this happened over a week and half period. This was a life-threatening allergic reaction; which I did not know I was having.
What Allergy Medicines Can I Take If I Have High Blood Pressure
Although some allergy medicines affect your blood pressure or interact with your blood pressure medication, safe options for treating your allergy symptoms exist if you have high blood pressure.
Second-generation antihistamines that are not combined with decongestants are generally safe to use if you are not taking the blood pressure medicines listed in the drug interaction section above. Second-generation antihistamines include the following:
If your symptoms include nasal congestion, the following options are generally safe to use as decongestants:
- steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase , Nasacort , and Rhinocort
- antihistamine nasal sprays, such as Astelin and Patanase
- saline nasal sprays or rinses, such as Ayr, Ocean, Simply Saline, or Neti Pot
Antihistamine eye drops, such as Pataday and Zaditor , are safe options for itchy watery eyes.
Can I Take Allergy Medicine If I Have High Blood Pressure
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, especially in the Coastal Bend. A common concern that we encounter when treating allergy patients is that they would like to try allergy medicine but are afraid that it will elevate blood pressure. In general, most allergy medicine is safe to use in patients with underlying high blood pressure. Regarding specific mechanisms of action, antihistamines and nasal steroids will not elevate blood pressure when used as directed.
Decongestants, however, should be avoided as they are known to elevate blood pressure as a side effect. Also, over the counter sinus and cold remedies often contain combinations of medicines, and therefore should be avoided if one of their ingredients is a decongestant. It is always best to check with your doctor prior to taking a medicine if you are unsure about its safety.
Best Treatment To Manage Allergies Long Term
Immunotherapy is a great option for anyone who suffers from severe allergy symptoms, especially for those with year-round allergies. Immunotherapy works by exposing you to gradually increasing levels of an allergen to help your immune system slowly build a tolerance, relieving allergy symptoms and even preventing new allergies from developing.
Allergy shots are one form of immunotherapy that require frequent office visits to be administered by a doctor. Allergy drops are a revolutionary form of immunotherapy that can be taken under the tongue from home each day to relieve allergy symptoms long term. Both allergy shots and allergy drops can be prescribed by a doctor after specific allergies are determined by an allergy test. This is a long term approach to allergy relief and management, with most patients taking allergy shots or drops for a period of three to five years.
Step 2: Is There An Alternative Medicine
If your medication is still necessary, the next step is to see whether there’s an alternative medication that can treat your condition without causing ED. A good example of this is a patient taking beta blockers to prevent migraine headaches.If the patient experiences ED due to the propranolol, we can see if he experiences the same benefit from Topamax, which is also used to prevent migraines and isn’t generally associated with ED.There are a lot of alternative medications. Speak to your healthcare provider about side effects and desired outcomes to see if you can devise a different treatment strategy that works for you.
A Look At Allergies And Heart Health With Tips To Endure Pollen Season Amid Coronavirus Fears
Spring brings warmer temperatures, blooming flowers and, for millions of Americans, the arrival of allergy season. It also coincides this year with the arrival of COVID-19, which could make allergy sufferers hyperaware of every sneeze and sniffle.
But there are key differences in symptoms. Seasonal allergies can cause sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and cough. Yet unlike allergies, coronavirus causes a fever, with other symptoms including cough and shortness of breath.
When seeking relief, people with allergies who are concerned about heart disease or high blood pressure must be especially careful when taking blood pressure-raising, over-the-counter decongestants. They’re also stimulants, which can increase heart rate.
But determining the extent of the direct connection between allergies and heart health is a topic that needs more research. A look at two studies offers examples of differing conclusions.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined the relationship between airborne allergen concentrations and emergency room visits for heart attacks in Ontario, Canada, from 2004-2011. The study found the risk of having a heart attack was 5.5% higher on days with the highest pollen levels compared to days with the lowest levels. Heart attack risk was highest in May and June, when tree and grass pollen are most common.
And her advice for patients still hasn’t changed.
Other general tips for allergy sufferers:
Allergy Medication And Hypertension
Some allergy medicines can affect your blood pressure or interact with your blood pressure medication. Don’t fret! There are safe options out there for treating your allergy symptoms relative to your high blood pressure and we will review them here.
While most antihistamines are generally safe to take with your blood pressure medication, we want you to keep in mind the following drug interactions if you are taking medicines for your blood pressure:
- Fexofenadine and Carvedilol : This may increase the side effects of fexofenadine. You may want to use fexofenadine cautiously if you are taking carvedilol.
- Cetirizine and levocetirizine : If either of these drugs is combined with methyldopa , you may experience increased drowsiness.
- Diphenhydramine : Make sure to talk with your doctor before taking any diphenhydramine products because any product containing itmay counteract the effects of some blood pressure medications.
Second-generation antihistamines that are not combined with decongestants are generally safe to use if you arenot taking the blood pressure medicines listed in the section above. The same goes for intranasal corticosteroids. Second-generation antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids include the following:
Antihistamine eye drops, such as Pataday and Zaditor , are also safe options for itchy and watery eyes.