No cancer risk in blood pressure medications

Kevin Magna

June 3, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that there is no heightened cancer risk for medications that are categorized as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). These pills are meant to treat high blood pressure and brands include Diovan, Micardis, Cozaar, Benicar and Avapro. 

The results come after a comprehensive analysis including 31 trials that evaluated 156,000 patients. The FDA advises that patients should not stop taking their medications for fear of heightened risk of cancer, unless one has already consulted with a healthcare professional. Likewise, it's important to address any concerns with ARBs with a doctor before modifying a medication regimen.

The FDA analysis is in response to five randomized clinical trials that indicated a "small but statistically significant increase" in the chance that patients could develop cancer.

Most experts suggest talking to a doctor before making any changes to pill consumption habits. Other questions can also be asked at the pharmacy, as pharmacists are good go-to resources as well. Patients who are having difficult managing their medications – whether they are forgetting to take them on occasion or double dosing – may want to invest in a medical alarm system, because this device can be programmed with medical alerts to notify users whenever it's time to take a dose.