Association between blood pressure medication and lung cancer found
Researchers found that blood pressure medications taken by millions of people worldwide can increase the risk of lung cancer.
In their current study, researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that widespread blood pressure medication appears to increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "The BMJ".
Lung cancer from ACE inhibitors?
So-called ACE inhibitors are medications that are used especially for the treatment of high blood pressure and chronic heart failure. The study now found that patients taking ACE inhibitors were 14 percent more likely to develop cancer. The risk continued to increase the longer patients took these drugs. Those who took ACE inhibitors for five years were 22 percent more likely to develop lung cancer. The risk rose to 31 percent after ten years. The scientists suspect that the drugs cause bradykinin to build up in the lungs, which then leads to cancer.
ACE inhibitors are common
Ramipril is the most commonly used ACE inhibitor, which was prescribed over 27 million times in England in 2017 alone. Other common names are captopril, cilazapril and enalapri. Up to five million patients in the UK are prescribed ACE inhibitors. The drug is usually used for high blood pressure or after heart attacks. ACE inhibitors work by reducing the activity of the so-called angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE for short. By blocking this enzyme, the blood vessels relax and expand and the blood pressure is lowered, the experts explain.
Researchers examined 992,000 subjects
The study, currently published in the BMJ, examined 992,000 adults who were prescribed medication to regulate blood pressure in Great Britain between 1995 and 2015. The patients on the exam took one of two types of tablets, either ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, each of which works in a different way.
More research is needed
Compared to patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers, subjects taking ACE inhibitors were found to be 14 percent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer within six years. The experts are now planning additional long-term follow-up studies to investigate the effects of these drugs on the incidence of lung cancer. In view of the potential negative effects of the high blood pressure medication, these must now be examined in further studies, especially in patients who are exposed to the medication for longer, the scientists demand. (as)