In a new study from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, researchers found a COVID-19 survival benefit linked to the use of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I), an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), or metformin for hospitalized patients.
ACE inhibitors are medications that help relax the veins and arteries to lower blood pressure.
ARBs are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. They are also used for chronic kidney disease and prescribed following a heart attack.
Metformin is used to control blood glucose (sugar) levels in people who have type 2 diabetes.
They examined patterns of ACE-I, ARB, beta-blocker, metformin, famotidine, and remdesivir use and mortality among 9,532 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infection.
The researchers found that discontinuation of an ACE-I was linked to a higher risk for death, while the risk for death was reduced in association with initiating or continuous ACE-I use.
Strong links of similar direction and magnitude were seen with ARB and metformin use.
These findings not only support the continuation of ACE-I, ARB, and metformin medication among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 but suggest benefits for initiation in patients with indications for therapy.
The researchers also found evidence consistent with benefits for the same strategy in patients with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized.
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The study is published in The BMJ. One author of the study is Arthur W. Wallace, M.D., Ph.D.
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