Scientists from Imperial College London recently found that a type of high blood pressure drug called calcium channel blocker is linked to a higher risk of a bowel condition called diverticulosis.
This condition causes small bulges or pouches to appear in the lining of the intestine. The bowel condition is more likely to occur in older people. It may lead to a medical emergency.
High blood pressure harms one in ten adults across the globe, and it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The most common treatments for the condition are lifestyle changes and medications.
In the study, the team examined the effectiveness and side effects of three common blood pressure medications: ACE-inhibitors, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers.
These three drugs have been taken by millions, but their potential side effects are still not clear.
The researchers used genetic analyses to study the effects of drugs. They examined versions of genes that mimic the effects of these drugs.
They first identified the proteins targeted by the drugs and which help lower blood pressure.
Next, they analyzed genetic data from around 750,000 people and identified the so-called genetic variants that code for these proteins.
They then studied whether these gene variants were linked to an increased or decreased risk of other diseases. They tested the risk of about 900 different diseases using data from the UK Biobank study.
The team found that a particular type of calcium channel blocker (the non-dihydropyridine class) for high blood pressure treatment was linked to the increased risk of bowel conditions.
The team explains that it may relate to effects on the function of intestine muscles, which perform contractions to transport food through the gut.
They also warn that the findings should not change current blood pressure drug prescribing guidelines.
People should not stop taking their blood pressure medication before consulting their doctor.
The study was conducted by Dr. Dipender Gill et al and published in the journal Circulation.
If you care about gut health, please read about studies that green tea could boost gut health and lower blood sugar, and this diet could boost your gut health and weight loss.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
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