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Hidden Effect? Hypertension risk linked to common, over-the-counter pain relievers

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12:02pm, October 30, 2002

Women who take over-the-counter medicines for headaches and inflammation boost their chances of developing high blood pressure, a long-term epidemiological study suggests. Among the drugs are acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but not aspirin, researchers report in the Oct. 28 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Scientists analyzed medical and lifestyle data from questionnaires filled out by 80,020 female nurses aged 31 to 50. The surveys, completed by women in 15 states in 1995 and again in 1997, revealed how often the women used these analgesics and whether they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure during that time.

About half the women took aspirin at least once a month, and three-fourths used acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, that often.

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