LONDON: New research offers reassuring evidence to hundreds of millions of people with high blood pressure that popular anti-hypertension drugs do not put them at greater risk from COVID-19 as some experts had feared, foreign media reported.
Two blood pressure-lowering drug classes, called ACE inhibitors and ARBs, came under scrutiny after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that 72% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients 65 or older had hypertension.
ACE inhibitors and ARBs are thought to trigger activity along the same biological pathways used by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus to attack the lungs
Researchers at Oxford University had recommended some patients to stop the drugs until the risks were better known, while others argued patients should stay on the medications. An expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness in Baltimore described the debate as one of the most important clinical questions.” The new study made publicly available on Friday found no clinically significant increased risk of either a diagnosis or hospitalisation of COVID-19 with ACE or ARB use compared with other first-line drug treatments for hypertension
The authors recommended that patients should not discontinue their treatment to avoid the virus, which has infected over 7.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 420,000. Our findings are quite reassuring” said Marc Suchard, a biostatistician at the University of California, Los Angeles, who co-led the study. Taking an ACE or an ARB is just as safe as other first-list hypertension agents in terms of your risk of contracting COVID-19.” The study analyzed the electronic medical records of 1.1 million patients on anti-hypertension drugs from the United States and Spain and has not yet been peer reviewed.
It was part of the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics program (OHDSI, pronounced Odyssey) response to COVID-19, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and SIDIAP, a Spanish health research organization. OHDSI is an open-source collaborative research platform that conducts large-scale studies.