These blood pressure medications linked to suicide risk

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In a recent study conducted by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital, a concerning connection has been discovered between a widely used class of blood pressure medication, known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and an increased risk of suicide.

This study, published in JAMA Network Open, sheds new light on the potential mental health implications of ARBs compared to another blood pressure medication class, ACE inhibitors.

Both ARBs and ACE inhibitors are designed to combat high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, and diabetes by targeting the effects of angiotensin II. This hormone causes blood vessels to narrow, increasing blood pressure.

While ACE inhibitors reduce the production of angiotensin II, ARBs prevent the hormone from binding to receptors, stopping it from constricting blood vessels.

The research team, led by Muhammad Mamdani, director of the Applied Health Research Center, undertook a detailed analysis using Canadian health databases.

They identified 964 individuals who had committed suicide within 100 days of being prescribed either an ARB or an ACE inhibitor.

These cases were then compared to a control group of over 3,000 individuals who were also on these medications but did not die by suicide.

The findings revealed a stark contrast in suicide risk between the two groups. Those taking ARBs were found to have a 63% higher risk of dying by suicide than their counterparts on ACE inhibitors.

The researchers theorize that this increased risk may be due to ARBs causing an elevation of angiotensin II levels in the brain, which could potentially influence mood disorders and lead to suicidal behaviors.

It is important to note that the study also considered other factors that might affect suicide risk, including the use of antidepressants and benzodiazepines by some of the patients.

Despite these variables, the association between ARBs and an increased suicide risk remained significant, prompting calls for further investigation into this finding.

Given the widespread use of ARBs in treating several common health conditions, this study raises critical questions about the safety of these medications and their potential impact on mental health.

While the researchers urge caution and further research to validate these findings, they also suggest that patients and healthcare providers might consider choosing ACE inhibitors over ARBs when possible, especially for those at risk of mood disorders.

This study highlights the importance of considering the broader implications of medications on patients’ overall health, including their mental well-being.

As the medical community strives to understand the complex interactions between physical and mental health, findings like these underscore the need for a holistic approach to patient care, ensuring that treatment for physical ailments does not inadvertently harm mental health.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure.

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