Paracetamol use exacerbates stroke risk in people with hypertension

February 10, 2022
Paracetamol use exacerbates stroke risk in people with hypertension

Studies by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, reveal people who take paracetamol on prescription could be at increased risk of heart attacks and stroke especially if they have hypertension or high blood pressure. Paracetamol is widely prescribed as a quick remedy for aches and pains and is also prescribed for chronic pain relief.

While short-term use of paracetamol for headaches and fevers is safe, researchers stress the marked blood pressure increase from constant use of the painkiller and advise doctors to reconsider “the risks and benefits to patients taking it [paracetamol] over many months.”

The University of Edinburgh study tracked 110 volunteers, two-thirds of whom had high blood pressure and on medication. The volunteers were asked to take 1g of paracetamol four times a day for two weeks – a common dose for patients with chronic pain – and then a placebo for another two weeks.

Results showed, sure enough, that paracetamol increased blood pressure and consequently the risk of heart attacks and stroke, much more than a placebo ever could.

However, the Edinburgh team were unable to explain how paracetamol would raise blood pressure. Paracetamol was previously considered safer than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, which are thought to raise blood pressure in some people.

Other experts remain uncertain whether the increase in blood pressure due to paracetamol use would also increase risk of cardiovascular disease and have said “further research in people with normal, healthy blood pressure, over a longer timeframe,” was needed.

Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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