The range of anti arthritis drugs known as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) can increase the risks of high blood pressure, especially if taken in large doses.
The NSAIDs are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the US and UK, and are mainly taken by the over 65s. They are associated with a long list of serious side effects, and some reports have linked the drug to up to 4,000 deaths in the UK alone every year.
High blood pressure (hypertension) had not been considered to be one of the adverse reactions until researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, looked at the problem from a different angle.
They studied 9,411 patients who had recently started on medication to lower blood pressure and worked out the expected ratio for those on NSAIDs against those who were not taking the drug. They discovered that 41 per cent had used NSAIDs during the previous year, and that the odds of hypertension increased among the most recent users by a ratio of 2.1.
!AJAMA, 14 September 1994.