Study Links Popular Blood Pressure Meds To Increased Cancer Risk

Because heaven forbid a medicine can do something good without some sort of nasty side-effect, a newly released study claims that a popular class of medications used to regulate blood pressure may also slightly increase the takers’ risk of getting cancer.

According to a study published in the journal Lancet Oncology, researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that patients taking a class of drugs called angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) were shown to be 1.2% more likely to be diagnosed with a new cancer over four years than others who did not take the drugs.

“The increased risk of new cancer occurrence is modest but significant,” said one of the doctors involved in the study.

While the study involved looking at data for patients on three different types of FDA-approved ARB (telmisartan, losartan, and candesartan), the one taken by 86% of patients was telmisartin.

Telmisartan is better known as Micardis, which brings in $1.5 billion in sales each year for German drug company Boehringer Ingelheim.

For their part, the folks at Boehringer Ingelheim claim that “internal safety data analysis of primary data contradicts the conclusions” of an increased cancer risk.

But the company’s own test on Micardis did show a very slight increase in cancer risk when the drug is taken along with ACE inhibitor drugs.

The Case Western researchers are asking regulators to take a look into their findings.

However, in spite of the findings, experts stress that patients on blood pressure meds need to continue taking their medications.

Common blood pressure drugs may raise cancer risk [Reuters]