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​Patients on blood pressure drugs at increased risk of lung cancer, study suggests

Patients taking ACE inhibitors could be at an increased risk of lung cancer, according to the findings of a new study.

The risk of lung cancer increased with the amount of time patients were taking the drugs, with risk peaking at 10 years, the researchers said.

The study was carried out by researchers at McGill University in Canada and looked at just under a million patients taking antihypertensive drugs, including just over 335,000 who were on ACE inhibitors.

They found that patients taking ACE inhibitors had an overall 14% increased risk of lung cancer compared to patients taking ARBs.

The risk increased with time, with those taking the drugs for five years at 22% increased risk, and those taking them for longer than 10 years at 31% increased risk. There was no associated increased risk with use for less than five years.

The researchers said in the paper: ‘Although the magnitudes of the observed associations are modest, ACEIs are one of the most widely prescribed drug classes; in the UK, 70.1 million antihypertensives are dispensed each year, of which approximately 32% are ACEIs.

‘Thus, small relative effects could translate into large absolute numbers of patients at risk for lung cancer. Given the potential impact of our findings, they need to be replicated in other settings, particularly among patients exposed for longer durations.’

BMJ 2018; available online 24 October



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