Studies Don't Show Blood Pressure Drugs Increase COVID-19 Risk

Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 3:56pm
Updated: Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 8:27am
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Following data released by China in February, some worried certain common blood pressure drugs might increase risk of death from COVID-19.

Now studies from New York CityBoston; and Lombardy, Italy, published in the New England Journal of Medicine offer good news for the more than 23% of Arizonans with hypertension.

The coronavirus infects cells by "docking" with a receptor called angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE2). ACE2 occurs in the tissues of several organs, including the lungs.

Some research suggested drugs like ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) might boost ACE2 and, with it, the virus.

Dr. Martha Gulati, physician executive director at Banner - University Medicine Heart Institute, said such fears drove some patients to stop taking their medications.

"We care actually that patients don't just indiscriminately stop drugs because these drugs actually do a lot of good things," she said.

Worse, discontinuing the drugs which doctors also prescribe following heart attacks, can cause rebound hypertension and possibly stroke.

Gulati said the institute's telehealth capabilities have improved a great deal and strongly recommended patients consult with a physician before considering any changes in medication.

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