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Editor's Correspondence
November 26, 2007

Another Possible Cause of Increased Blood Pressure in Men Older Than 60 Years Who Are Taking Medications to Control Musculoskeletal Pain

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(21):2371. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.21.2371-a

In the article titled “Frequency of Analgesic Use and Risk of Hypertension Among Men,” the authors state in the “Comment” section that “ . . . we are unaware of common medical conditions that are simultaneously indications of analgesic use and independently associated with hypertension.”1(p398)

There may be one association in the age group studied that could account for the findings in this study. Men in their early 60s who are taking pain killers with great frequency for chronic pain, in particular musculoskeletal pain, might be more sedentary. Men in the age group studied tend to gain weight rapidly without exercise. Lack of exercise and weight gain could lead to small increases in average blood pressure in men in his age group. Hence, while mechanistically plausible, increased analgesic use may not be the cause of elevated blood pressure but simply a marker of increased musculoskeletal pain, which results in reduced exercise, weight gain, and consequently, a rise in blood pressure.

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