Blood pressure drugs don't increase cancer risk, researchers say

Findings were presented late August at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2020 digital conference

There is no evidence that blood pressure medication increases the risk of developing cancer, according to the largest, most detailed analysis on the matter yet, researchers say.

The findings were presented in late August at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2020 digital conference.

“Our results should reassure the public about the safety of antihypertensive drugs with respect to cancer, which is of paramount importance given their proven benefit for protecting against heart attacks and strokes,” said Emma Copland, study author, and an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, per a press release from the ESC.

Previously, evidence on the matter was “inconsistent and conflicting,” with debates dating back 40 years over the link between blood pressure drugs and possible cancer risk, per the release.

“The researchers found no evidence that the use of any antihypertensive drug class increased the risk of cancer," per a release. (iStock)

“The researchers found no evidence that the use of any antihypertensive drug class increased the risk of cancer," per a release. (iStock)

Study authors analyzed about 260,000 people from 31 trials, including which people developed cancer. Researchers looked at five blood pressure-lowering (or antihypertensive) drug classes: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and diuretics.

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Investigators also approximated each drug classes’ effect on the risk of developing any kind of cancer or dying from cancer.

“The researchers found no evidence that the use of any antihypertensive drug class increased the risk of cancer. This finding was consistent regardless of age, gender, body size, smoking status, and previous antihypertensive medication use,” per the release.

The findings also showed no evidence that antihypertensive meds increased the odds of developing breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, or skin cancer. Finally, a longer duration of blood pressure drug use was not associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Copland said the study “addressed an ongoing controversy” and “provide[s] evidence for the safety of blood pressure-lowering drugs in relation to cancer.”

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