Many seemingly safe over-the-counter cough and cold products may be dangerous for people with high blood pressure, because they can raise blood pressure without causing symptoms. Therefore, it is very important to be selective when it comes to selecting cough and cold products. Those with high blood pressure should familiarize themselves with the ingredients in over-the-counter medicines before buying any of them.
The American Heart Association says various cough products contain decongestants that can both raise blood pressure and affect the way blood pressure medicines work. This is because decongestants tighten blood vessels in the nose and other parts of the body, says the Mayo Clinic. The clinic recommends over-the-counter cough products that do not contain a decongestant for those who have high blood pressure.
Examples of common decongestant ingredients in multisymptom cough and cold products that can increase blood pressure include pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylephrine, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those with high blood pressure may consider cough and cold products that do not contain any of these ingredients. The Heart Association advises that it is still important to discuss taking any over-the-counter medication with a doctor.
Cough and cold products that are free of decongestants include the Coricidin HBP line of cough and cold products. Coricidin HBP cough and cold contains an antihistamine and a cough suppressant to alleviate the symptoms of cough, throat irritation and congestion. Coricidin HBP Maximum Strength Flu contains an antihistamine, an analgesic for pain and fever and a cough suppressant to relieve coughing, congestion, and pain. Coricidin HBP Chest Congestion & Cough contains a cough suppressant and a medication to break up mucus to relieve chest congestion. Coricidin HBP Nighttime Multi-Symptom Cold contains an antihistamine, analgesics for pain and fever, a sleep aid and a cough suppressant to relieve coughing, congestion, and pain.