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Drug-induced hypertension

Contents of this page:


Drug induced hypertension
Drug induced hypertension

Alternative Names    Return to top

Hypertension - medication related

Definition    Return to top

Drug-induced hypertension is high blood pressure caused by using a chemical substance, drug, or medication.

See also: High blood pressure

Causes    Return to top

Blood pressure is determined by the:

Many other factors can also affect blood pressure, including:

There are several types of high blood pressure.

Drugs that can cause hypertension include:

Rebound hypertension occurs when blood pressure rises after you stop taking or lower the dose of a drug (typically a high blood pressure medication).

Symptoms    Return to top

The symptoms of drug-induced hypertension are the same as those of primary hypertension, and may include:

Note: Hypertension usually has no symptoms.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

The health care provider will ask you questions about your use of drugs known to affect blood pressure measurement.

Repeated blood pressure measurements can confirm the diagnosis. Blood pressure that is consistently high is considered hypertension.

Two factors determine blood pressure measurements. Systolic blood pressure is the "top" number. It measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure is the "bottom" number. It is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is at rest.

Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg, and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mm Hg. A consistent rate of more than 140 mm Hg systolic and more than 90 mm Hg diastolic is considered high blood pressure.

Blood tests may be done to determine the levels of medications that may be causing the high blood pressure.

Treatment    Return to top

The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to below 140/90 (below 130/80 if you have diabetes or kidney disease). This will lower the risk of complications.

If possible, stop taking the substance that caused your hypertension. Your health care provider may adjust your treatment if your current medications are causing hypertension and you cannot stop taking these drugs.

Medications that may be used to lower blood pressure include:

Have your blood pressure checked regularly (as recommended by your health care provider) to monitor its response to treatment.

Lifestyle changes may be recommended, including:

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Drug-induced hypertension is usually controllable with treatment. Treatment may need to be changed periodically.

Possible Complications    Return to top

Complications of untreated hypertension can include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

If you have high blood pressure, you will have regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor.

In between appointments, call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

Prevention    Return to top

Be careful when taking any medication. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist about the effects, and whether the medication might interact with other drugs you are taking (even over-the-counter medications).

In people with hypertension, lowering salt (sodium) intake may be recommended. Products containing sodium (such as salt, MSG, and baking soda) may cause or worsen high blood pressure in some people.

If your doctor suspects drug-induced hypertension, it is important to discuss all drug use -- including alcohol and other recreational drugs -- so that the condition can be properly diagnosed.

References    Return to top

Kaplan NM. Systemic Hypertension: Therapy. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 41.

Victor RG, Kaplan NM. Systemic Hypertension: Mechanisms and Diagnosis. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 40.

Update Date: 5/15/2008

Updated by: Alan Berger, MD, Assistant Professor, Divisions of Cardiology and Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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