Hypertension medications are used to lower blood pressure levels. But, according to a new report, some of the widely prescribed drugs for high blood pressure could be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. This study was led by Professor Laurent Azoulay of McGill University in Canada and has found that angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor drugs (ACEIs) are linked to increased risk of getting lung cancer as compared with use of another blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers.
This risk is particularly higher among people using ACEIs for over five years. According to the researchers, the small relative effects of ACEIs could translate into great risk for lung cancer.
ACEIs are common drugs used to treat high blood pressure. They may increase the lung cancer risk through build-up of protein-like chemicals called bradykinin and substance P in lungs. These chemicals are directly responsible for the growth of lung cancer. Though there have been previous observational studies examining the same association but the researchers have analyzed UK primary care records to better understand it. The records were taken of nearly one million patients who started taking a new antihypertensive drug between 1995 and 2015.
This is the largest study to assess this specific association and the findings remained consistent after further analyzes. The researchers have concluded that use of ACEIs is strongly associated with an increase risk of lung cancer. They hope to continue their research and advise people to express their concerns about blood pressure medication risks with their physicians. “Additional studies,” they concluded, “with long term follow-up, are needed to investigate the effects of these drugs on incidence of lung cancer.”
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