HPU Pharmacy Professor: Common Medications Can Interfere with Blood Pressure Treatment

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 18, 2018 – Research by a High Point University professor has found that patients diagnosed with hypertension are taking common medications that could potentially interfere with the management of their high blood pressure.

The results of the study by Dr. Andrew Hwang, assistant professor of clinical sciences in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, were recently published in the American Journal of Hypertension under the title “Use of Prescription Medications That Potentially Interfere with Blood Pressure Control in New-Onset Hypertension and Treatment-Resistant Hypertension.”

Hwang and other researchers conducted the study by looking at the common medications used by two groups of patients: those with newly diagnosed hypertension and those with hypertension that is still uncontrolled despite taking three or more blood pressure medications. The typical course of treatment for patients with high blood pressure is to limit the use of drugs that would interfere with blood pressure, but until this study, real-world use of these medications had not been studied extensively.

The research team found routine use of NSAIDs (aspirin, Motrin and Advil), hormones and acetaminophen among the patients identified in both groups. The results also showed that nearly 20 percent of patients were started on a blood pressure-interfering medication after escalation of their antihypertensive therapy and that more than half are continuing to use these drugs after needing to get a new blood pressure medication.

For patients taking blood pressure medications, Hwang says awareness of these drugs, and minimizing their use when they are not necessary, is an important key in controlling blood pressure.

“Although our study focused on prescription drugs, many of these same drugs are also available over-the-counter,” says Hwang. “Due to the accessibility, patients should be cognizant of the potential for these drugs to interfere with blood pressure control and ought to seek the advice of their physician or pharmacist prior to starting these medications.”

He also suggests that patients with hypertension who continue to have high blood pressure despite treatment with one or more medications should have an honest conversation with their health care provider about all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications they use

Hwang plans to further his research in this area by identifying patient factors that may make them more vulnerable to the blood pressure effects of these medications and improving ways to prevent the unnecessary use of these medications in high-risk patients.

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