Q. After using Preparation H for several days, my blood pressure went to 206 over 98 and I ended up in the emergency department for hours.
Later that week I read in your column that someone else had experienced the same problem. My doctor was skeptical, to say the least, so I lent him the clipping. Now he can’t find it to return it.
Would you write about this again? I never had high blood pressure before in my life. It is always around 130 over 65.
A. Preparation H was reformulated many years ago, and now contains phenylephrine. This compound constricts blood vessels, which can cause an elevation in blood pressure.
There is a warning on the label: “Ask a doctor before use if you have:
• heart disease
• high blood pressure
• difficulty in urination due to enlaregment of the prostate gland
“Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are presently taking a prescription drug for high blood pressure or depression.”
The warning on the label used to say:
“Do not use this product if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland unless directed by a doctor.”
We fear that many people assume over-the-counter products are super safe. Many don’t bother to read warnings, or if they do, they may ignore them. Your experience suggests that such warnings are there for a reason and suggests some healthy people should also be wary.