Americans battling hypertension may have one less thing to worry about: Blood pressure drugs do not affect outcomes of people hospitalized with COVID-19, a new study finds.
Researchers looked at whether two types of medications used to treat high blood pressure — ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) — could either lessen complications or lead to more severe COVID symptoms.
“At the start of the pandemic, patients were worried about perceived harm based on limited and incomplete information and, unfortunately, some insisted on stopping their medications,” said study first author Dr. Jordana Cohen, an assistant professor in the university’s Perelman School of Medicine. “However, stopping these medications unnecessarily can increase the risk for severe complications, including heart attack and stroke,”
“Now, we have high-quality evidence to support our recommendation that patients continue to take these medications as prescribed,” Cohen said in a university news release.”Our trial results importantly show that these medications can be safely continued for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.
The study involved 152 patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and already using one of the blood pressure drugs. The researchers randomly assigned the patients to either continue their medications or stop using them.
The investigators found no difference in outcomes between the two groups.
More than 49 million Americans take high blood pressure medications, and about 83% (41 million) of them take an ACE inhibitor or an ARB, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report was published Jan. 7 in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
For more on COVID-19, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, news release, Jan. 7, 2021