Common pain relievers linked to high blood pressure in men

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: May 22nd, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The over-the-counter pain relievers acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin are among the most commonly used medications in the U.S. And while millions swear by these drugs as ways to lessen everything from back pain to headaches, some users may be at risk for unintended side effects: elevated blood pressure. Two recent research studies suggested pain-relieving medicines may be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure in women, but this association had yet to be widely looked at in men.

Now research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that U-S men who regularly take common pain relievers may have an elevated risk of hypertension, compared with men who don’t use these medications.

Doctors followed more than sixteen-thousand men who were not diagnosed with hypertension. The men were surveyed in the year two-thousand, and then again two years later. Questions included whether, and how often, they took three kinds of pain relievers: acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen [na-PROXX-inn], and aspirin.

Compared with men who did not take any of these pain relievers, those who used acetaminophen six to seven days a week saw a thirty-four percent higher risk of hypertension. Those who took ibuprofen, meanwhile, had a thirty-eight percent higher risk, while those who took aspirin had a twenty-six percent higher risk. Researchers say more studies need to be done, but men who take pain relievers often should be aware of this interaction and be sure to have their blood pressure checked at each doctor’s visit.