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Monday, June 14, 2010

Blood Pressure Pills May Cause Cancer

Some of the world's most popular blood pressure pills may slightly increase your risk of getting cancer, but doctors say it's too soon to ditch the drugs, according to new research.

In an analysis of five previous studies following about 60,000 patients, experts found a link between people taking medicines known as angiotensin-receptor blockers, or ARBs, and cancer. The drugs are taken by millions of people worldwide for conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetic kidney disease.

In the analysis, researchers found that people who took the drugs had about a 1 percent higher risk of getting cancer than people who weren't on the drugs. This included a whole range of cancers -- prostate, breast and a noticable spike in lung cancer.

About 85 percent of those people were on telmisartan, sold as Micardis, made by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp. There was no difference in the rate of cancer deaths in people on the drugs compared to those not on them.

The study was published Monday in the medical journal, Lancet Oncology. No funding was provided for the study, but Dr. Ilke Sipahi, the study's lead author, has received past payments from drug makers Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca PLC and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc., which all make blood pressure drugs. Other authors reported similar grants from other pharmaceuticals.

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