In a new study, researchers found that for people who take certain blood pressure medications, those drugs can increase their sensitivity to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
In the study, the team reviewed data for nearly 303,000 adults in Ontario over 65 who were prescribed medications for high blood pressure.
They then compared their skin cancer histories with those of more then 605,000 adults who weren’t taking antihypertensive drugs.
The findings showed that certain types of high blood pressure drugs—known as thiazide diuretics—were associated with higher rates of keratinocyte skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, advanced keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma.
The study is a potential flag for someone who might be at increased risk of skin cancer, that has had one in the past or they have really fair skin and a lot of sun damage, that this might predispose them further to more skin cancer.
The team also found four other blood pressure medications—angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium channel blockers—did not show an association with skin cancer risk.
Previous studies had shown an increased risk of skin cancer among people taking the drug, also known as hydrochlorothiazide.
This most common of the thiazide drugs earlier prompted warnings against prolonged use by Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.
This new study followed people over time to determine if risk happened not just because a person took these medications, but whether the cumulative dose or duration might impact their skin cancer risk.
It showed higher cumulative exposure (taking the medications over a longer period of time) was associated with increased rates of skin cancer.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about common high blood pressure drugs may actually harm your heart health and findings of widely used blood pressure drugs may increase death risk in breast cancer.
For more information about high blood pressure treatment, please see recent studies about treatable cause of high blood pressure are often ignored and results showing that these common high blood pressure drugs linked to higher risk of cognitive decline.
The study is published in Canadian Medical Association Journal. One author of the study is Dr. Aaron Drucker.
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