This headache drug surprisingly lowers blood pressure

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Acetaminophen, a common painkiller, is familiar to many as a go-to remedy for headaches and fevers. Typically consumed in pill form, its usage is both widespread and generally considered safe.

However, in hospital settings, acetaminophen is often administered intravenously—directly into the bloodstream—a method that ensures the drug works quickly, dosage is precisely controlled, and patients who are unable to swallow pills can still receive pain relief.

This intravenous method, while efficient, has been linked to a surprising side effect: a significant drop in blood pressure. This isn’t limited to critically ill patients; it can occur in anyone receiving the drug this way.

Research has shown that about six out of ten severely ill patients have experienced this drop in blood pressure, and one-third of these cases required medical intervention to address the issue.

The research leading to this discovery was spearheaded by Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps and his team at the University of Copenhagen. They investigated why intravenous acetaminophen leads to decreased blood pressure and found that when administered this way, the drug bypasses the liver.

This alters the chemical production in the body, affecting potassium channels which are crucial in regulating blood pressure.

In their experiments, Jepps’ team was able to block these potassium channels in rats, successfully reducing the blood pressure drop side effect.

This finding could lead to better management strategies for patients needing intravenous pain relief, particularly in critical healthcare situations such as during the COVID-19 crisis when usage of such methods spiked.

For the general public who take acetaminophen orally and adhere to recommended dosages, there is no immediate concern regarding blood pressure impacts. ‘

However, this research underscores the complexities of medication effects depending on the method of administration and highlights the importance of careful monitoring in hospital settings.

The study’s findings have significant implications for healthcare providers and offer insights that could improve patient care, particularly in managing the side effects associated with intravenous medications.

This research is detailed further in the journal Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, contributing to the broader scientific understanding of how common medications can interact with our body in less expected ways.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies that black licorice could cause dangerous high blood pressure, and this common plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about how coffee influence your risk of high blood pressure, and results showing this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

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