It has always been my notion that tylenol is the safest of all pain relievers. Most patinets of mine are advised to take acetaminophen instead of NSAIDS especially if they have arthritis and have concomitant heart disease or kidney problem. We all know about the Viox controversy when it was pulled out due to cardiovascular safety.
Now comes a recent report from the Harvard Health Beat regarding a Swiss study that showed taking acetaminophen better known for the brand Tylenol, can actually cause an elevation of Blood pressure.
The researchers asked 33 men and women with one or more of these problems to take either 1,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen or an identical placebo three times a day for two weeks. Then, after a two-week break, each volunteer took the other treatment. The amount of acetaminophen used in the study is a standard daily dose for pain.
When the participants took acetaminophen, average systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) increased from 122.4 to 125.3, while the average diastolic pressure (the bottom number) increased from 73.2 to 75.4. Blood pressure stayed steady when participants took the placebo. These increases aren’t large. But they indicate that acetaminophen, like NSAIDs, somehow affects the cardiovascular system.
Acetaminophen indeed is a safe alternative to the pain killers known as NSAIDs becuase it is safe to the stomach and avoid gastric irritation.
It is also a better alternative especially to patients taking anticoagulants or drugs to prevent blood clots because it does not interfere with their actions nor further increase bleeding tendencies.
However… people should be extra careful with this new information and therefore should not take acetaminophen lightly. Meaning, one should also be cautious in taking acetaminophen with a slight onset of headache especially among patients with concomitant cardiovascular disease.
No matter how safe a drug is perceived to be… along the way comes an alternative that will always be safer… or the other way around. It is best that we be kept informed because we may be taking drugs that may instead cause harm than good. It is therefore always worth having a periodic visits to your family doctor.