A dose of relief: ARB blood pressure meds don't pose a cancer risk

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FDA officials announced Thursday that the agency's meta-analysis study did not find a correlation between the commonly prescribed class of blood pressure drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and cancer risk. In the largest ARB study of its kind to date, the FDA reviewed data from randomized-control clinical trials totalling more than 155,000 patients who were assigned to take either an ARB (including Diovan, Cozaar, and Avapro, among others), or other blood pressure medicines. No cancer risk associated with ARBs was found. ARBs work by blocking the receptor for the hormone angiotensin II, which elevates blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, and death.

"This is a very large and important study because these drugs are so commonly used," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross.“ARBs are also combined with other drugs, such as calcium channel blockers and diuretics. The results should reassure patients that their ARBs are safe to use.”