What to Know Before Taking Cold Medicine for High Blood Pressure Patients

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Jane Taylor in Health & Wealth

Last updated: 16 January 2020, 08:56 GMT

Everyone catches a cold at some point. That’s just part of life, and after all, there’s a reason it’s called the common cold.

For most people, having a cold is no big deal. They simply take cold medicine and get on with their lives. However, for people with high blood pressure and certain other health conditions, it’s not that simple.

They have to make sure to take only cold medicine that doesn’t raise their blood pressure.

The same goes for finding a decongestant for high blood pressure and pain relievers for high blood pressure. Additionally, they also have to find a medicine that won’t negatively interact with their blood pressure medications.

Receiving a diagnosis of high blood pressure is not something that should be taken lightly. There are many things a person with high blood pressure should not consume such as sodium and decongestants, which are found in many over-the-counter cold medications. Just as sodium can raise blood pressure, components found in cold medications can contain similar harmful effects.

Be Careful About any Decongestants a Product Contains

Right now, you’re probably wondering, “What cold medicine can I take with high blood pressure?”

The answer is really that…it depends. Not all cold medicines are made the same, and while some may contain ingredients that aren’t ideal for high blood pressure sufferers, others don’t.

For this reason, you’ll have to get used to reading ingredient labels on any medicines you take.

As you familiarize yourself with these ingredient labels, know what to look out for. Certain decongestants, for example, are some of the very worst culprits for raising blood pressure.

Some decongestants to avoid include:

  1. Pseudoephedrine
  2. Phenylephrine
  3. Oxymetazoline

A person with high blood pressure problems must make sure that they stay away from decongestant ingredients, such as Naphazoline, Phenylephrine, and Propylhexedrine when they have a cold and flu. Always read labels, not only for the decongestants found in cough medicines, because over-the-counter cold medicines can contain harmful content and that is high levels of sodium.

If you can find products that do not contain these or other dangerous ingredients as decongestants, then they are probably just fine to take. Just make sure you get your doctor’s approval first, just in case.

Be Aware of Harmful Over-the-Counter Medications

People with high blood pressure not only have to look after what they eat but they also have to be careful of taking over-the-counter medications, such as cold medicines. Cold medicines, such as Robitussin, Tylenol Cold, Sudafed, and Alka-Seltzer Plus to name a few, can have an adverse effect on someone who has high blood pressure. Harmful content in cold medicines is the decongestant ingredient that can raise blood pressure.

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Safe Cold Medications

Looking at all the over-the-counter cold medicines on a pharmacy shelf can be quite mind-boggling as you try to find something that is safe and does not contain decongestants. The only over-the-counter cold medications that are harmless for people with hypertension are Coricidin HBP, Chlor-Trimeton, Benadryl, and Tavis-1. These drugs do not contain decongestants and will not cause your blood pressure to rise.

Try out a Specialty Medication

If you’re not a person who wants to spend time scrutinizing ingredient labels, don’t worry. There is an easier option, which is to buy a specifically designed blood pressure cold medicine, such as the popular option, Coricidin HBP.

This medicine and others like it, which also include specific cold medicine for diabetics, is designed with high blood pressure sufferers, their needs, and even the medications that they take in mind. Thus, it is safe for most high blood pressure sufferers.

However, as is the case with any medication, it’s always a good idea to get a doctor’s approval before trying it out.

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Pay a Visit to Your Doctor

Speaking of getting a doctor’s approval, why not seek advice from your doctor the next time you catch a cold?

These professionals have a whole lot of experience with relieving discomfort, and they’re often the best source of information and advice when you’re trying to find a medication to help ease your symptoms.

Plus, your doctor knows you, your history, your specific health needs and concerns, and what medications you’re taking. Thus, your doctor’s advice will be specifically tailored to and safe for you, making it some of the best and most foolproof advice you can get.

Use Basic Pain Relievers When You Can

A lot of the time, when people have colds, they think that only a syrup or a decongestant will do the trick. However, you’d be surprised at just how effective a simple pain reliever can be.

Common pain relievers, such as aspirin and Tylenol, can knock out many of the uncomfortable feelings associated with a cold, such as headaches, sore throats, and more. Best of all, they do so without impacting your blood pressure.

Before you reach for a potentially dangerous medication, see if these common options relieve your pain. If they do, you won’t have to worry about taking anything else. And, as an added bonus, these medications are typically much cheaper than other options.

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Try Treating Your Symptoms Without Medication

A final thing you can try is treating your symptoms without the use of medication.

Americans are quick to grab a pill or “potion” for every illness, but a lot of minor discomforts can be treated at home without medication.

A sore throat, for example, can often be soothed by gargling with warm saltwater. Similarly, you can sometimes break up congestion in the chest with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

So, before you rush into using medications that could negatively affect your blood pressure, try a few at-home tricks. They might just help more than you ever thought possible!


As you can see, you have many options for treating cold symptoms…even if you have high blood pressure. Give some of these tips a try.

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