By Wendy Haaf
While it’s often recommended as a safer alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol) may not be as benign as we once believed, new evidence hints. Scottish researchers recruited 110 adults with high blood pressure and randomly assigned them to take either a placebo or the equivalent of two extra-strength (500-milligram) tablets of acetaminophen four times a day for two weeks.
After a two-week break from pill-taking, the two groups were switched for another two weeks. After two weeks on acetaminophen, participants’ average blood pressure readings had crept up by roughly 5 mmHg compared with results while they were taking a placebo—similar to the results seen with NSAIDs. An increase of this magnitude would be expected to raise the risk for heart disease and stroke by about 20 per cent.