Some blood pressure meds may increase cancer risks

I think it is axiomatic that any medicine that can affect the physiology of the body is likely to have some negative effects.

While the study discussed below shows only a slight increase (1.2%) in cancer among those taking angiotensin receptor blockers for high blood pressure, when we consider the numbers of people taking these drugs this is significant. This is particularly true when we consider that the decrease in serious disease among those taking the drugs is around the same percentage except for those who blood pressures are extremely high.

from The Science Business

A new analysis of clinical trial data links some of the most popular blood pressure drugs to an increased risk of cancer.

But experts not involved in the analysis cautioned that the results are not definitive and hard to interpret, and probably should not result in wholesale changes to how doctors use the medicines, called angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs. The result shows how, as more and more data are collected, potentially important but small risks are likely to continue to turn up for lots of common drugs.

In 2009, these blood pressure medicines generated $25 billion in worldwide sales and were prescribed 82 million times in the U.S. alone, according to data from prescription-monitoring firm IMS Health. They include Micardis from Boehringer Ingelheim, Diovan from Novartis and Benicar from Daiichi Sankyo, as well as Merck’s Cozaar, which has just become available as a cheap generic. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration said it was looking into studies in which Benicar seemed to have a higher death rate. The agency said that the benefit from Benicar still seems to outweigh the risks…

more via Common Blood Pressure Pills Linked to Cancer


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