Researchers on Sunday suggested that a widely used class of blood pressure drugs may slightly increase the risk of cancer.
The class of drugs is known as angiotensin-receptor blockers or ARBs.
U.S. researchers found that those taking the drugs were 1.2 percent more likely to be diagnosed with a new cancer over four years when compared to those who did not take the drug.
Data used by researchers from Case Western Reserve University looked at data from 60,000 patients.
Their results are published in the British journal Lancet Oncology.
Most of the patients in the trials took Micardis, generic name telmisartan, sold by Boehringer Ingelheim.
There is no word on whether it is the entire class of drugs or this individual drug that is the issue. More studies are needed to uncover that link. “Disturbing” and “provocative” were the words used by Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen in a commentary on the findings.
Nissen says doctors need to be more cautious about prescribing ARBs, particularly Micardis.
Drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim says in a statement that “internal safety data analysis of primary data contradicts the conclusions” of the link to cancer.
Other ARBS include Atacand or candesartan (AstraZeneca); Cozaar or Iosartan ( Merck); Diovan or valsartan (Novartis); irbesartan or Avapro (Sanofi-Aventi /Bristol-Myers Squibb); Benicar or olmesartan (Daiichi Sankyo); Teveten or eprosartan (Solvay Pharmaceuticals).
Two years ago researchers reporting at an international conference on Alzheimer’s disease found that ARBs may delay the onset of dementia. Some types of dementia are directly linked to damaged blood vessels caused by high blood pressure over time.
ARBs were found by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s as well as lower the risk of the disease. #