CNN.com is reporting that a possible medical product liability study published in a British medical journal found that certain blood pressure medications may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. While researchers cannot say the exact risk of cancer for each drug, they are calling for more research to be sure of the risks. The blood pressure drugs are called angiotensin-receptor blockers and they block the chemical angiotensin II from having any effect on the heart and blood vessels, which prevents blood pressure from going up. The study is especially worrisome because the drugs are often prescribed to individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure or disease, and diabetes-related kidney disease.
One heart failure expert told CNN.com that these studies have found a 1.2 percent increased cancer risk for taking these high blood pressure drugs over a four year span. The current data suggests an overall 10 percent increase in the risk of cancer diagnosis in patients on these drugs compared to placebo. The study concluded that the risk for lung cancer was the highest, but the study authors could not explain why these drugs may be causing cancer. Some experts question the study – one expert stated that these data raise a question regarding the drugs and the risk of cancer. But, the data showed only non-small cell lung cancer was statistically increased and the extent of the increase was quite modest. He compared this study’s data to a “hint” rather than a “signal.” The experts recommend that any patients currently taking the drugs to continue taking the drugs and talk to their doctors about any concerns.
More information is available about the blood pressure drug interaction study on CNN.com.