Can Ibuprofen Cause High Blood Pressure?

Ibuprofen (also known as Advil) can truly be a blessing if you're suffering from a fever, headache, backache, or even period pain. For this reason, many people make sure that their medicine cabinets are stocked with ibuprofen so that they can fight off any of these afflictions as soon as they arise. That being said, the U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that taking ibuprofen increases a person's risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if the medicine is taken for an extended period of time.

According to the American Family Physician, part of this is because people who take ibuprofen are more likely to develop high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In fact, a review of 32 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving a total of 3,626 patients who underwent at least a month of treatment found that patients given ibuprofen were nearly three times as likely as controls to develop hypertension (2.9% vs 1%).

This is when to be cautious about taking ibuprofen

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recommends talking to your doctor before taking ibuprofen if you smoke, if you have high cholesterol or diabetes, or if you or anyone in your family has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke. You'll also want to talk to your doctor if you currently have high blood pressure, as ibuprofen can exacerbate the problem. You should immediately get emergency medical care if you develop chest pain, slurred speech, shortness of breath, or weakness in one part of the body. Furthermore, ASHP warns against taking ibuprofen immediately before or after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

When you do take ibuprofen, you should check the bottle and take no more than the recommended amount. A 2018 study published in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety found that 11% of regular ibuprofen users take too much of the drug, putting themselves at risk of serious side effects.

If you decide against taking ibuprofen for the sake of your blood pressure, you may be happy to learn that aspirin does not share this side effect (per American Family Physician).