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A recent survey by St. Joseph Health Products, a brand of Baltimore-based ILEX Consumer Products Group, found that nearly half of people with high blood pressure don’t know they should take a special over-the-counter (OTC) cough, cold or flu medicine. Since 67 million Americans who’ve been diagnosed with the condition -- and there are an estimated 14 million who are unaware they have it -- the cold and flu season could be potentially risky to many Americans.
Further, fewer than 10 percent of survey respondents actually know that the most common OTC ingredients for those with high blood pressure to avoid are decongestants, as their narrowing effect on blood vessels in the nose and facial area can also affect other blood vessels while raising blood pressure and heart rate.
“We were shocked at how many people with high blood pressure still don’t know to avoid decongestants,” said ILEX EVP Sales & Marketing Bernie Kropfelder. “Annually, anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population will catch the flu, so we hope the survey will help to raise awareness among high blood pressure sufferers and encourage them to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about which OTC medicines to avoid.”
Nearly 1,000 men and women with high blood pressure, or who buy OTC cough and cold medicine for someone with high blood pressure, and between the ages of 45 and 64, took part in the online survey, which was conducted by Dallas-based Savitz Research Solutions on behalf of St. Joseph, from May 19 to June 13, 2012.
ILEX recently introduced five new St. Joseph cough, cold and flu medications especially for people with high blood pressure. None of the five new products contain decongestants. Additionally, the line’s cough and cold medications targeting fever and pain have acetaminophen as their active ingredient. The advantage of using acetaminophen is that it won’t interfere with the benefits of an aspirin regimen, while medications featuring ibuprofen and naproxen could limit the efficacy of aspirin therapy if taken together with aspirin.