The People's Perspective on Medicine

Do Ibuprofen Side Effects Include Scary High Blood Pressure

Millions pop vitamin I (ibuprofen) every day without a second thought. But ibuprofen side effects can be very serious. All NSAIDs pose significant risks.

We have heard ibuprofen referred to as vitamin I. That’s because a lot of weekend warriors rely on ibuprofen and other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve inflammation and pain. Naproxen is also a favorite of hikers, golfers, bikers and tennis players. Many people with arthritis also rely on prescription-strength drugs like celecoxib, diclofenac and meloxicam. What many people do not realize is that ibuprofen side effects can be serious. Other NSAIDs pose similar risks.

Q. I was prescribed high-dose ibuprofen for a knee injury. Two months later, I went to a new primary doctor. My blood pressure was 188/100. It is normally 120/70. Does ibuprofen raise blood pressure?

A. Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can in fact raise blood pressure (BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, Oct. 24, 2012).

Other Readers Report Problems with NSAIDs:

Beth experienced hypertension and A-fib with diclofenac:

“I know what happened to me when a doctor prescribed Diclofenic for me. Without even an examination, he gave this drug and within 5 days, I became dizzy and suffered palpitations.

“The day before I was due to go on a holiday warning signs became evident andI had to go to accident and emergency where I was seen by a doctor who said various tests would have to be carried out. I was told no flying.

“My blood pressure (normally 128/90) was 190/60. I had an E.C.G., ECHO CARDIOGRAM AND CAROTID SCAN. ALL CLEAR. It was down to NADIDs, however a 24hr heart monitor picked up abnormal beats. I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and I am now on anticoagulants.

“I will never return to that group of drugs.”

Many people may not realizer that their NSAID has led to an increase in blood pressure.

Linda in Portland, Oregon shared this story:

“I have been on meloxicam for about four years now and have not had any problems with it. Recently I have had some dizziness and was concerned so took my blood pressure (I am a retired nurse practitioner). I was very shocked to find that my BP was about 160/100, so immediately started eating better and exercising.

“It didn’t occur to me until today that meloxicam may be playing a part. I will discontinue it (I’m taking it for knee pain) and consider taking an alternative if the knee pain is too difficult. I am glad that I found this website as I had formerly been assured that meloxicam had few side effects. I will also watch my BP and if it doesn’t come down will make an appointment with my MD.”

What Happens when Ibuprofen Side Effects include Hypertension?

Many health professionals may not link a patient’s elevated blood pressure to their use of an NSAID. Yet ibuprofen side effects include hypertension, irregular heart rhythms (atrial fibrillation), congestive heart failure, indigestion, perforated ulcers, kidney damage, kidney disease, liver damage and allergic reactions.

It would be a shame to start taking blood pressure medicine to counteract ibuprofen side effects. The person who asked the question at the top of the page may want to consider a different way to dealing with kneed pain.

What About Topical NSAIDs?

A topical NSAID such as Voltaren Gel or Pennsaid Topical Solution might be one approach. This requires a conversation with a physician as such drugs are only available by prescription in the U.S. Our new guide discusses this option in great detail. Or perhaps this person would benefit from an anti-inflammatory herbal medicine such as boswellia or curcumin or a home remedy like tart cherry juice or Knox Gelatin.

You can learn about all these options in our newly revised and expanded Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis, available online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. This 53-page guide has links to scientific support for non drug approaches. We also provide videos so you can see exactly how to make recipes for arthritis remedies like gin-soaked raisins or Certo and grape juice. To make this brand new guide more affordable we have reduced the price. Act now to get Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis at an introductory discount.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I am a retired nurse. I was prescribed 800mg Motrin T.I.D. I was also prescribed lortab with it. My BP has always been 110/70. Everytime I went for a f/u appt for my ACL tear my BP was 165/95. It actually got as high as 186/110!! I was never told this could be due to Motrin until my visit with my new Dr. I think it should be announced on TV drug ads that some side effects from this drug, like extremely high blood pressure, can kill you. I’m a health professional and didn’t know. I will never take Motrin again!!!

I broke 3 ribs and took Percocet for a day and then 800 mg ibuprofen twice a day for 2 weeks. Ten year history of 120/80 type BP readings then, during ibuprofen time period, as high as 170/105. I stopped for 2 weeks now, and I’m finally back to 123/78 or so. Glad I found this article. What’s concerning is that I went back to doctor for rib follow-up and he noted my BP was up but never mentioned the possible cause as ibuprofen.

Thank you for sharing this important information. For I too worked so hard for over a year to bring my B/P to normal level of 116/78 and cause of a toothache I took Ibuprofen for 6 days and my B/P is at 154/104.i will immediately discontinue using Ibuprofen and drink a lot of water and exercise.

59 and have annual physical past 19 yrs. BP is always 113/70, sometimes 122/78, highest 129/82. I took 2-4 ibuprofen for 2 months, sprained foot jogging. I used a higi machine while in store, 167/103,, no way. This screwed up machine. 1 hr later I got groceries at Farm Fresh & they have bp machine, actually used it once last summer, bp was normal. I checked it, 177/97,,Crazy. What the heck did I eat for 2 months. I back tracked everything for 2 months, supplements, jogging, weight, etc. I did the same as always, then it hit me. I had been taking 400-800 mg of ibuprofen I got at Dollar Tree. I asked a pharmacist, ” Ibuprofen does not effect bp does it?” She stopped putting up boxes and said yes without hesitation. I quit totally. I checked last week after a month, 122/84. Holy cow. There should be a humongous warning sign on that crap. I didn’t think twice about it or allergy pills.

I have a tooth ache in my hip and it has gotten worse over the years I broke my hip when I was 28. I got pregnant while still on crutches. Know I’m 70 and my blood pressure shoots up when I’m in pain if I keep it under control with Advil or even some times Percocet 5/325. I try not to use anything but some times It just won’t stop.

My blood pressure is 120/80 the Dr. doesn’t seem concerned should I? Everything reads it raises you chance for heart disease or stroke.

Hi! I also took Ibuprofen 200 mg daily for about 2 months for stiffness/pain before playing racquetball. My BP ALWAYS normal. Went doctor for a routine physical and it was 160/93!

I couldn’t believe it! I have stopped and am waiting for it to come down. I did read the warnings, but since my BP is always normal-took it with a grain of salt!! Not any more!!

Have been taking ibuprofen for a few days, for acute back pain. BP has shot up to 160s and 140s over high 80s, from its usual 120s over 70s. I am also having frequent palpitations.

I thought this was due to pain, but it may be the ibuprofen too. I have struggled for many years to achieve normal BPs, cannot risk any more damage to CV system. Will discontinue.

My blood pressure is usually normal. IF I am stressed it’s borderline high. I have been taking 2 Advils daily for two months for pain in my knee. A few nights ago, I took my blood pressure, and it was 201/113. I thought of what I had been doing differently to raise my pressure to this scary number as I was feeling relaxed and not stressed at all. I went online and checked out NSAIDS & bp and then checked out out how to lower blood pressure fast. I drank a ton of water, and water fasted the next 2 days with a tiny bit of food. Today is day 3 and bp dropped to 153/83. Hope the top number will drop more in next few days.

I was taking 2 OTC Ibuprofen at night and lisinopril for BP, I was told that Ibuprofen could cause heart failure and had antihistamine in it and my allergy meds also. I have bad side effects to antihistamines. So I quit Ibuprofen and singular and started taking my BP medicine in the morning, to my surprise I stopped having leg cramps, foggy head and slept good for the first time in years. I will check out any other meds or OTC before taking another one.

How long after stopping ibuprofen before BP return to normal?

I thought I was reading my post. Know how you feel. I have normal no at 59. Avid walker/jogger. I hit near 200/97 and highest in my life was normal,,,I was thing of the ER until I realized it was a $1 bottle of ibuprofen tablets. Scary

When I had atrial fibrillation a few years back (now resolved), I was told, in no uncertain terms, by every caregiver I came in contact with, NOT TO TAKE NSAIDS, EVER! — because they can cause and/or increase the AF. I stopped right there and have never taken another one.

I believe that Naproxen is also based on the propanoic acid molecule and Voltaren is based on Diclofenic the infamous drug that practically wiped out the population of vultures from India which at the time was given to the Sacred Cows as an antibiotic the Cattle died the vultures ate the cows and they died as well, one has to wonder if their deaths where from myocardial infarction!

Any drug that triggers your adrenal glands in order to kill your pain will raise your BP. You will notice that several of these drugs are based on propanoic acid to bring pain relief but their mechanism does not work like lidocaine that blocks the pain signals or action potentials from reaching the fore brain very similar to the effects of anesthetics.

I just read your post. It simply amazing.I think it was one of the best home remedy.Thank you

A couple of years ago I was prescribed Diclofinac for back pain. It did wonders for the pain but it was discovered to be elevating my liver enzymes. I immediately discontinued taking it and the liver enzymes returned to normal. Good thing my doctor was on top of the situation.

I have intrinsic hypertension, well controlled with medication. I have taken celecoxib for my arthritis for years, with no effect on my BP.
The reader who mentioned a BP of 128/90 should have been discussing with his doctor how to bring it down. That is not a normal blood pressure, it was too high already.

Depends on the age bracket. 128/90 is not too high.

I have not had trouble with hypertension while taking Ibuprofen but have suffered from itchy skin when taking it for more than a few days. The itch kicked in after I stopped and was very irritating for a couple of weeks. I now take it judiciously only.

I think it is important to read as much as you can about meds you take. The most recent study that I saw on NSAIDs was on non-aspirin NSAIDS. All NSAiDS were not the same with naproxen sodium actually showing significantly less cardiac effects. Also, once the inflammation has been reduced I have found I can back off to less frequent use. I wish they would do more research on finding ways to make aspirin safer since I still find it to be a very effective pain reliever.

Short of life sustaining drugs I am always looking to see if I can fade or eliminate drugs or move to a PRN basis. I have used SAMe and turmeric curcumin with good results for average days. Unfortunately, SAMe was too expensive to continue. Wish it was a prescriptive drug as it is in Europe.

Pat,

There were some data suggesting that naproxen might be less likely to cause cardiovascular problems than other NSAIDs. The FDA did not allow a loosening of warnings for this drug however and a recent study called PRECISIOIN that compared ibuprofen to naproxen to celecoxib did not find that naproxen was in fact safer. At this point there is not enough data to suggest that one NSAID is better for the heart and vascular system than another NSAID.

I have mile high blood pressure and noticed that if I take Advil that after a few doses, my blood pressure shoots up. I take it once at night occasionally for pain. Once I’m off of for a few days, the blood pressure usually returns to normal.

Agree.
With even slightly high BP, once a night dose of Ibuprofen caused higher BP (10 + reading). I measure morning, night and during the day, often. Incidental use is fine, but be careful of consecutive daily use. Had a bad MCI with left coronary artery blocked, and I was fit and very strong.

The article states you might try a topical NSAID like Voltaren gel. I tried that and it gave me high blood pressure!

So my question is, after you discontinue NSAIDS, i.e., Ibuprofen, does your blood pressure or other symptoms return to normal?

Sure does, within a week or 2.

I had takem meloxicam for several years. One day I noticed my ankles were very swollen. Then my face. I went to 3doctors. Finally mt ob/gyn told me that was one of the side effects and to get off of it for 3 months. I lost 20 lbs of water. I now cannot take any nsaids.

Voltaren Gel is now off patent and available in generic form.What once was $81 for me is now $6.00.
Pennsaid Topical Solution comments indicate it may be better at pain relief but messy liquid. Messy or not it’s not generic so I’ll have to pay higher $$ to evaluate.

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