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OTC Medications & Heart Health

Updated: Feb 19



Some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can affect heart health. This article is not personal medical advice however will provide you some cautionary information to discuss with your physician prior to usage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Some over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), belong to the class of NSAIDs. Long-term use or excessive use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, especially in people with pre-existing heart disease. Nasal decongestants: Nasal decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, often found in cold and flu medicines, can increase blood pressure. People with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases should use these drugs with caution and under the guidance of their Physician. Cough and cold products that contain stimulants: Some cough and cold products contain ingredients that stimulate the cardiovascular system and can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It is important to check the label and run these by your cardiologist or personal physician. Weight Loss Drugs: OTC weight loss drugs and supplements may contain stimulants that can affect heart health. These products can increase heart rate and blood pressure, raising concerns about their safety, especially for people with cardiovascular disease. We urge extreme caution prior to purchasing any of these, especially online! Antihistamines: Although some older generation antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine) are generally considered safe, they can cause side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness, and may affect cardiovascular function. It's extremely important to be very cautious with regard to fall precautions here especially with any known underlying neurological disease, dementia, or frailty. Read your medication labels carefully and follow recommended dosages under the supervision of your personal physician, especially if you already have heart disease and are taking other medications. In summary, we all should be concerned about the effects of over-the-counter medications on our heart health. Always seek your Physicians advice before starting or stopping any medication.



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