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‘No evidence’ that ACE inhibitors and ARBs worsen Covid-19, says medicines regulator

There is ‘no evidence’ that ACE inhibitors and ARBs might worsen cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), the Government has said.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) urged people to continue taking their hypertensive medication amid concerns about the adverse effects of the drugs on the risk of infection from Covid-19 and its severity.

Earlier this month, the Council on Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology said it ‘strongly recommends’ GPs continue treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs following reports that some patients had stopped taking their medication.

In a statement, the MHRA said: ‘Whilst some media reports and publications have suggested that treatment with ACE-I or ARBs might worsen Covid-19 infection, there is no evidence from clinical or epidemiological studies to support this.

‘If you are taking angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors or ACE-i) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) to treat high blood pressure, it is vitally important you continue your usual treatment.’

It added: ‘We recognise the concern the Covid-19 outbreak is causing, and we are working closely with the Commission on Human Medicines and other regulatory bodies to ensure we can respond with further advice on this issue, should any new data emerge.’

Meanwhile, the BMA told members that GP practices in England will be asked to open over the Easter Bank Holiday to help the NHS cope with the coronavirus crisis.