Taking ibuprofen along with high blood pressure medications can severely dehydrate a person and cause significant kidney damage, study finds
- Using common over-the-counter pain-relieving drug ibuprofen alongside hypertension drugs could be dangerous combination, new study finds
- The hypertension drugs often contain a diuretic, which can dehydrate the body because it increases urination
- When dehydrated, the kidney may not be able to handle the pressure of the painkiller and may become damaged
- About half of Americans suffer from hypertension and 90% report taking ibuprofen
The common over-the-counter pain reliever ibuprofen poses a dangerous combination with some popular high blood pressure medications, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada — just 60 miles west of Toronto — used a computer simulation to determine that the combination of the drugs could lead to significant kidney damage.
Hypertension medications contain a diuretic — which makes a person need to urinate more often — and rob the body of some water. Combine a dehydration of the kidney with the effects of the other two drugs and permanent liver damage can result.
The team cautions that many people are likely taking this drug combination without even realizing the harm it could cause.
Taking ibuprofen with common hypertension drugs can be dangerous as the drugs dehydrate the body and expose it to possible permanent and serious kidney damage, new study finds (file photo)
“Diuretics are a family of drugs that cause the body to retain less water,” says Dr. Anita Layton, a researcher and university professor, said in a statement.
“Being dehydrated is a major factor in acute kidney injury, and then the RAS inhibitor and ibuprofen hit the kidney with this triple punch.” If you happen to be taking these high blood pressure medications and need a pain reliever, consider acetaminophen.”
Researchers, who published their findings last week in Mathematical Life Sciencess, built a computer-simulated drug trial to determine the impact combinations of drugs would have on the kidney.
As part of the simulated trial, they gave hypothetical patients different medical profiles and tried to estimate how the drugs would affect their bodies based on known risk factors.
They combined a two-part antihypertensive drug with the common pain reliever — commonly sold under the brand name Advil — and conducted it with simulated trial participants.
Hypertension medications often contain a combination of a diuretic and an RSA inhibitor, the drug that helps regulate blood pressure.
Every drug a person takes affects their kidneys, although it is often minimal and short-lived. This is the case when standard hypertension medications are normally used.
dr. Anita Layton (pictured) said not everyone who combines the drugs will experience the kidney damage, but those taking drugs for hypertension should exercise caution
Ibuprofen is a relatively safe pain reliever, although taking too much in a short time is known to cause significant kidney or liver damage.
This is why when someone overdoses on a popular over-the-counter pain reliever, they sometimes need a transplant of both organs.
Water serves as a natural lubricant in the body and can protect the kidney from some of this damage.
However, when a person is dehydrated from a diuretic, their body may not have the water it needs to protect against ibuprofen.
In some specific cases, a patient may suffer significant and permanent kidney damage.
“It’s not like everyone who happens to take this combination of drugs is going to have problems,” Layton said.
“But the research shows that it is already a problem that you have to be careful.”
A Boston University study published in 2018 found that nearly 90 percent of Americans had taken a drug like Advil in the past year.
Combine that with the almost half of Americans who suffer from hypertension — a large proportion of whom are on medications that use a diuretic — and many Americans may accidentally harm themselves without knowing it.