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Popular Blood Pressure Meds Won't Up COVID Risk: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Two widely used types of blood pressure drugs aren't tied to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection or complications, according to a new study.

In the early stages of the global pandemic, it was noted that people with high blood pressure had worse COVID-19 outcomes, and there was concern that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) blood pressure medications might be a factor.

To learn more, the researchers analyzed data from more than 1.1 million patients in the United States and Spain who were taking four types of blood pressure drugs: ACE inhibitors, ARBs, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) or thiazide diuretics (THZs).

The investigators found that patients taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs had no higher risk of COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization or complications than those who took CCBs or THZs.

The findings were published online Dec. 17 in The Lancet Digital Health.

The results add to similar findings and support regulatory and clinical recommendations that patients shouldn't stop taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs due to concerns about increased COVID-19 risk, the study authors said.

"The clear answer is that ACE inhibitors and ARBs pose no increased risk as compared to other treatments," said research team leader Dr. Marc Suchard, a professor in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The findings show no clinical reason to switch from an ARB to an ACE inhibitor to reduce COVID-19 risk, the researchers said in a news release from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in New York City.

"Based on our results, if there is a risk difference, it's marginal and would be very challenging to further refine outside such a large-scale international study," Suchard said.

Lead author Daniel Morales, a clinical research fellow at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom, said the study generated 1,280 comparisons to assess the safety of these drugs, producing "highly consistent results."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

SOURCE: Columbia University Irving Medical Center, news release, Dec. 17, 2020

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