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Is Robitussin Okay to Take If I Have High Blood Pressure?

By Heather Monroe ; Updated July 27, 2017

Robitussin prescribing information indicates that people with high blood-pressure should avoid using this medication. Most over-the-counter cold medications contain ingredients that exacerbate hypertension. There are alternative medications that relieve cold and flu symptoms available for people with high blood pressure.

Suppressant

Dextromethorphan is the ingredient in Robitussin used to suppress coughs. Dextromethorphan reduces the effectiveness of most high blood-pressure medications.

Expectorants

Ephedrine is used in some forms of Robitussin as a cough expectorant. This medication raises blood pressure and increases the heart rate. Forms of ephedrine may be listed on the label as pseudoephedrine or ephedra.

Sodium

Robitussin is high in sodium. One tablespoon of Extra Strength Robitussin carries 4.8 milligrams of sodium. The Mayo Clinic website suggests that people with hypertension consume no more than 1500 milligrams per day. The recommended Robitussin dosage for an adult is 2 tablespoons every four hours. This adds up to almost 60 milligrams of sodium that a patient may unknowingly consume.

Interactions

Ephedrine and dextromethorphan change the way the body metabolizes high blood pressure drugs. This can cause serious reactions. Patients should always ask the pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter cold medication, including Robitussin.

Alternatives

Use-over-the counter cold and flu medications designed for high blood pressure patients. Several companies make these.

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