Can You Take Diet Pills With High Blood Pressure?

Woman getting her blood pressure taken
A middle-aged woman has her blood pressure checked by a home nurse. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, but choosing the wrong weight loss path can worsen your condition rather than improve it. The manufacturers of diet pills market their products wisely, leading an obese person to believe he can lose 20 pounds in one month by taking a magic pill alone. These manufacturers fail to mention the possible dangers these pills pose to a person with a preexisting condition such as high blood pressure.

Diet Pills

If you choose to take diet pills for weight loss, it is in your best interest to speak to your doctor first. He will take into consideration any medications you currently take, along with the possible drug interactions these medications may have with prescription diet pills. He considers any health conditions you have as well. Some diet pills, such as diethylpropion and phenylpropanolamine, may increase your blood pressure, according to UC Davis Health System. This eliminates them as options.

Long-Term Safety

One concern of prescription diet pills is long-term safety. Sibutramine is an example of this. The FDA gave its approval for this weight loss drug in 1997, but then removed it from the market in 2010 when studies revealed it could increase the risk of nonfatal heart attack and stroke, explains MedlinePlus.com. People with high blood pressure are already at risk for these cardiovascular complications. Taking diet pills whose long-term effects are not immediately identifiable may increase the risks of these complications.

Obesity

The obvious reason for taking diet pills is obesity, a common risk factor for high blood pressure. Ironically, the use of diet pills for weight reduction may also reduce high blood pressure. Orlistat is one diet pill that doesn't appear to have an adverse effect on your blood pressure, but your doctor should make the final decision. Patients must realize, however, that diet pills alone are not effective. You must incorporate a healthy eating and exercise plan for long-term success and improved health.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Many over-the-counter pills are available without a doctor's prescription, but they may be harmful to your health. Palo Alto Medical Foundation, or PAMF, refers to them as anorectic drugs, a medical term for diet pills. PAMF explains these pills are similar to amphetamines, although the effects are not as potent. Among the adverse side effects is an increase in blood pressure. Some pills to watch for include Tenuate, Adipex-P, Bontril and phentermine. Although some require a doctor's prescription, they are available illegally through online pharmacies.

The Better Choice

The "Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension," or DASH diet, is an eating plan designed specifically for people with high blood prssure. It lowers sodium intake, along with saturated fat and cholesterol. It focuses on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, helping lower blood pressure and improve your health. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute states patients following the DASH diet not only lowered their blood pressure, but lost weight over an 18-month period.

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