High Blood Pressure Treatment and Swollen Gums

Hypertension treatment with certain medciations may lead to severe gingivitis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Medication is just one of many causes of gingivitis, and a recent review of studies suggested that calcium channel blockers (CCBs) used to treat high blood pressure may be one of the offenders.

Gingival enlargement is a condition in which the gums become red and swollen. In serious cases, oral surgery may be a treatment option.

According to the authors of this recent review, the most common treatment for this form of gingivitis was to change medications. In addition, researchers believe proper oral hygiene may help control the severity of the symptoms.

These researchers found that the medication nifedipine (brand name Procardia) has been reported more often in association with gingival enlargement than other medications in the CCB family.

"Discuss any concerns about your medication with a doctor."

This review was led by Rania Livada, DDS, MS, of the Department of Periodontology at the University of Tennessee Health Center in Memphis, TN.

Dr. Livada and and Jacob Shiloah, DMD, also of the University of Tennessee, reviewed previous studies and data related to the origin of CCB-induced gingival enlargement and risk factors as far back as 1983.

The CCB family of medications is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and is currently the eighth most commonly prescribed class of medication in the United States.

One side effect of these medications is inflammation of the gums. This review led by Dr. Livada sought to assess the risk factors associated with this class of medications as well as their symptoms and treatment options.

The researchers found that nifedipine (Procardia) had been reported significantly more often in association with gingival enlargement than other CCB medications.

This review found no greater risk associated with age or gender. It was also unclear to the researchers if dosage played a factor in the diagnosis of gingival enlargement.

The most common treatment for gingival enlargement is to stop the use of the current CCB. Surgery may be performed in severe cases to restore tissue contour, eliminate pockets or for appearance.

This review did suggest that the severity of gum inflammation directly related to the oral hygiene level of the patient.

Further study is needed to look for variables such as oral hygiene and the effectiveness of professional tooth cleaning.

These researchers declared no conflicts of interest.

This work was published on June 6 in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Review Date: 
December 4, 2013
Last Updated:
December 5, 2013