Common blood pressure drug may reduce severity of COVID-19, Yale study shows

A recent Yale study found that older COVID-19 patients taking ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure have a lower risk of hospitalization for the novel coronavirus.

The study is posted on the medical pre-print website medRxiv. The lead author is Dr. Harlan Krumholz, the Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Medicine at Yale.

In the study, the team analyzed data from about 10,000 patients with high blood pressure who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

All patients had a prescription for at least one high blood pressure medication, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB).

The team found the use of ACE inhibitors was linked to an almost 40% lower risk of COVID-19 hospitalization for the older Medicare patients, but there was no big difference in risk for the younger, commercially insured patients.

The use of ARBs was not linked to a lower risk for COVID-19 hospitalization for either group.

Also, neither ARBs nor ACE inhibitors were linked to a lower death risk in people hospitalized with COVID-19.

A large-scale clinical study is being prepared to examine the effect of ACE inhibitors on preventing the most severe consequences of COVID-19.

The researchers said the study was prompted by unresolved gaps in scientific knowledge that have led to debate over how ACE inhibitors and ARBs affect COVID-19 patients.

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