A study published Monday in the medical journal Lancet Oncology indicates that a certain class of blood pressure medicine may increase cancer risk, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Dr. Ilke Sipahi, lead author of the study and associate director of heart failure and transplantation at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, shared: â€œThe risk for the individual patient is modest, however, when you look at it from the population level, millions and millions of people are on these drugs and it can cause a lot of excess cancer worldwide.â€
The study involved an analysis of five previous studies on about 60,000 patients. The researchers indentified a link between patients taking medication known as angiotensin-receptor blockers or ARBs and cancer. ARBs are prescribed to patients worldwide in the management of high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetic kidney disease.
Results of the analysis indicate that patients on ARBs had a higher risk of about 1 percent of developing cancer when compared to patients who are not taking the medication. The types of cancers mentioned were cancers of the prostate, breast and lungs. About 85 percent of patients on ARBs were on Micardis (termisartan), manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp.
The results of the study do not necessarily mean that these patients should give up taking ARBs altogether, at least not until they have gone to their respective physicians for a consultation. It should, however, prompt regulatory agencies to take a closer look at these drugs, as expressed by Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen in an accompanying commentary in the Lancet Oncology.