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Prescription Medications that Raise or Change Blood Pressure

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Updated June 24, 2008

Many different prescription medications can affect blood pressure. The effects range from mild to severe, and some medications are strictly avoided in people with high blood pressure. Not all medicines affect all people in the same way -- a medicine that may be fine for one person may cause problems in another, and drugs “known” to affect blood pressure sometimes don’t cause any problems. Some medications known to alter blood pressure include:

  • Antidepressants - buproprion (Welbutrin), venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • COX2 Inhibitors – celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Immunosuppressants – methylprednisolone (Medrol), tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Epoetin alfa (EpoA)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
  • Oral Contraceptives
In most cases, the blood pressure altering effects of prescription medications are well understood and researched before the drug even comes to the market and is available for sale to the public. That means your doctor should be aware of any potential problems and will likely avoid medicines known to cause problems.

Still, problems are sometimes found with drugs after they’ve been on the market for a period of time, and new information is continually being revealed through scientific and clinical research. This may change the list of medicines known to affect blood pressure.

Not all drugs that affect blood pressure do so by causing pressures to directly increase. Rather, some prescription medications have a “secondary effect” on blood pressure by interfering with the function of various high blood pressure treatments. Depending on what treatments you use to keep your high blood pressure under control, your doctor may stop -- or avoid starting -- certain prescription medications.

When you are newly diagnosed or beginning treatment for high blood pressure, expect a thorough review of any medications and supplements that you may be taking. It’s a good idea to keep a current list of all medicines, herbs and supplements that you take, and bring the list with you to every doctor appointment for review.

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  5. Medications and Hypertension - Prescription Medications that Raise Blood Pressure

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