Two Blood Pressure Drugs have been marked dangerous for human use
Scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States have red-flagged and tagged two blood pressure drugs “killer drugs.”
The scientists found that people with hypertension who used alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists to control their blood pressure showed an increase in blood pressure variability, which could increase mortality risk.
The alpha blockers, which include doxazosin mesylate and prazosin hydrochloride “work by dilating the blood vessels.”
The alpha-2 agonists, such as methyldopa, “work by targeting sympathetic nervous system activity, thereby reducing blood vessel constriction.”
The scientists said the two classes of drugs are inimical to the health of anyone who uses them. They also advised against using these drugs.
The Lead study author, Dr. Brian Clements and team have recently presented their findings at the 2018 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions, held in Orlando, FL.
Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes against the wall of the arteries. And, in November last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the ACC set new guidlines.
A person is now considered to have hypertension if his systolic blood pressure (the top number) is 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher, and their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 80 mmHg or higher.
Systolic blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls when the heart is beating, while diastolic blood pressure is the force of blood when the heart is at rest, or between heartbeats.
The updated guidelines put more people at greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease, among other health problems.
Of course, when it comes to treating hypertension, the goal is to lower blood pressure. This may be achieved through lifestyle changes — such as adopting a healthful diet and increasing physical activity — medication, or both.
Previous research, however, has discovered that consistency is key for blood pressure levels. A study published in The BMJ in 2016, for example, associated higher variability of systolic blood pressure with a 15 percent increase in all-cause mortality.
According to the new study from Dr. Clements and colleagues, certain types of medication that are used to lower blood pressure may be contributing to this mortality risk.
For their study, the researchers analyzed the data of over 10,500 adults with high blood pressure.
The participants had their blood pressure measured at least seven times between January 2007 and December 2011, and the type of blood pressure medication they were using was monitored.
The team used these data to assess whether certain classes of blood pressure medication were associated with variability in blood pressure levels.
The study revealed two classes of blood pressure medication that were linked to higher blood pressure variability in subjects: alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists.
Based on the study results, Dr. Clements and colleagues say that these two medications should not be used to treat hypertension.
“Patients should know what their blood pressure is.” “If it’s up and down all the time, the patient should work with their physician to explore options for the best blood pressure medications that will reduce variances.”
“Where possible, people should avoid the two types of medications that show an increase in variances.”
Ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics may be safer treatment options for people with hypertension, Dr. Clements said.
“People who are on other types of blood pressure medications have an increased risk of death,” he added.
Blood pressure variability is not down to medication alone. The way in which blood pressure is measured can have a significant effect on readings, Clements mentioned.
For accurate blood pressure readings, he recommends sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes before measurements are taken. Stressful situations should be avoided and a well-fitting blood pressure cuff should be used.