What Is the Connection between Acetaminophen and Blood Pressure?

Lee Johnson

The connection between acetaminophen and blood pressure is that the drug can increase the likelihood of patients developing hypertension. Studies have confirmed that regularly taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen can increase blood pressure in both men and women. Researchers think that this relationship is either caused by the kidneys retaining fluids and salts or by spasms in the arteries, but these theories haven’t been confirmed. Patients who take painkillers such as acetaminophen regularly are at more risk than those who take then occasionally. Doctors may be able to suggest alternative treatments for patients who frequently take acetaminophen, such as those suffering from arthritis.

Acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen.

Studies conducted into the link between painkillers such as acetaminophen and blood pressure elevation have shown that patients who use the drug are more likely to develop hypertension. Hypertension is the technical name for high blood pressure, which can lead to other complications such as heart disease and strokes. Men who take acetaminophen frequently increase their chances of developing high blood pressure by 34 percent, compared to men who are not taking the drug. Research has taken into account other risk factors, such as age, physical activity, and alcohol intake, and still shows an increased risk for men taking acetaminophen.

A nurse taking a person's blood pressure.
A nurse taking a person's blood pressure.

Research on the link between acetaminophen and blood pressure in women also shows that frequent use of the drug increases the risk of hypertension. Women who take more than 500 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen per day have twice the chance of developing high blood pressure than those who do not. Studies always discount patients taking the drugs for headaches, because they could be a symptom of existing high blood pressure. This adjustment eliminates the chance of the results being skewed by patients already suffering from high blood pressure.

Frequent use is a key factor in the research into the link between acetaminophen and blood pressure. The research focuses on patients who have to take more than 500 mg of the drug per day. Concerned users should remember that occasional use of painkillers such as acetaminophen is unlikely to cause a significant increase in blood pressure.

Many patients are worried about the link between acetaminophen and blood pressure. These patients should weigh up the benefits of taking the treatment with the potential risks. Discussing the risks with a doctor can help patients allay these fears. Frequent acetaminophen users, such as patients suffering from arthritis, should discuss alternative treatments with a medical professional.

A bottle of acetaminophen.
A bottle of acetaminophen.

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