Blood Pressure Med May Increase Risk of Death
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects billions of people worldwide – billions! While many people work to control their blood pressure through exercise and a healthy diet, others also turn to prescription medications to reduce the health risks associated with the condition. But like many other prescriptions drugs, some of these blood pressure medications are now being realized to do much more harm than good . . . and I don't mean to alarm you, but I mean "harm" as in the way of "death."
Concerns have recently been raised about the safety of a popular blood pressure medication, Benicar, have recently been raised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the agency maintains (for now) that they feel the benefits to the drug outweigh the risks, it has shown a link to an increase in the number of heart related deaths.
How Did This Information Come About?
The FDA has been evaluating data from chemical trials where diabetes patients were taking Benicar as these patients were exhibiting a higher incidence of heart-related issues. In the statement released by the FDA, it was noted that it had not been concluded that heart risks were conclusive from patients taking the drug. It is important to note that while the drug has shown tremendous promise in treating disease, these findings were considered unexpected. The number of heart related deaths among the group taking the drug was considerably higher than the group taking the placebo.
What the Experts Have to Say
Dr. Glenn Gormley, the Chief Scientific Officer for the developer of the Benicar drug, stated that “There was a chemical imbalance in some of the cardiovascular side effects. We’ve never seen that before in other studies, and I don’t think we’ve seen that with other ARBs [Angiotensin receptor blockers].” Benicar belongs to a class of drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers that have also shown promise in treating kidney disease.
The number of heart related deaths was relatively small in this study, according to the experts. Of the 557 patients studied, there were 10 heart deaths in the Benicar group. However, the FDA is still interested in reviewing this possible connection further. Future studies are needed, and self-reported data from any side effects or heart issues from Benicar patients are encouraged to be reported by medical professionals.
In short, if you feel your side effects are out of the norm of what's expected from this medication, make sure to tell your healthcare provider and make sure they listen!