If you take medicine for your high blood pressure, you may be wondering if there are any over-the-counter medicines you should avoid while taking your blood pressure medicine.

Some common over-the-counter medicines belong to a group of medicines called NSAIDs. NSAID stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. There are a lot of NSAIDs available over-the-counter, but some of the most common are Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and Midol. NSAIDs can cause blood pressure medicine to not work like it should. NSAIDs can actually make your blood pressure go up.

Because of this, if you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend only taking NSAIDs when absolutely necessary or switching to another method of pain relief. Many doctors think you should not take NSAIDs for more than a few weeks if you have high blood pressure.

Over-the-counter cold medicines, such as certain decongestants, can also make your blood pressure go up. If you have high blood pressure, many doctors believe it’s best to only take cold medicines with decongestants for a short period of time, like a few days, or avoid them completely if you can.

Some herbal supplements can change the levels of certain electrolytes like potassium in your blood. Depending on the type of blood pressure medicine you take, this can even be life threatening. These include diuretics, or “water” pills, and medicines like ACE-Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB’s).

So, if you have high blood pressure, taking NSAIDs like Advil or Aleve, cold medicines, and certain herbal supplements may cause your blood pressure medicine to not work like it should, or even cause potentially dangerous interactions.

Talk to your doctor about all the medicines you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. Together, you can make a plan to keep you healthy!


Keep yourself safe, tell your doctor what you take!