Q. About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees. I started taking ibuprofen for the pain. A few years later I was at work when my heart suddenly started pounding.
I went to see my primary care provider, who found that my blood pressure was extremely high. I’d never had an elevated reading before. He said he’d read a study showing ibuprofen linked to high blood pressure and told me to stop taking the drug. When I did, my blood pressure dropped to normal almost immediately. I haven’t had high blood pressure since.
A. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex, diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc), meloxicam (Mobic) or naproxen (Aleve) are often used to alleviate pain and inflammation. There is growing recognition that such drugs can raise blood pressure. New research suggests that they may also cause irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation (BMJ, online, July 4, 2011). Your pounding heart may have been an arrhythmia.
We are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis with information on the pros and cons of common medications and many non-drug approaches to easing the pain.
Medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen may also trigger dangerous bleeding. They are not appropriate for people with kidney disease. That may explain why so many people are interested in alleviating pain and inflammation without using such medications. There are many options discussed in our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies.