A common blood pressure drug may increase skin cancer risk

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In a recent study from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, a popular blood pressure medication called hydrochlorothiazide has been linked to a worrying side effect.

This medication, which is commonly used in Australia to manage high blood pressure, is now associated with an increased risk of skin cancer in older adults.

Hydrochlorothiazide is known to make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. This is because of its photosensitizing properties, which means it can increase the skin’s reaction to the sun, potentially leading to more harm from sun exposure.

The researchers at UNSW Sydney took a close look at older Australians, specifically focusing on those who had been diagnosed with two types of skin cancer: lip cancer and malignant melanoma.

They used data from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to understand how widespread these conditions were among people taking hydrochlorothiazide.

The study’s findings were quite clear. People who used hydrochlorothiazide were found to have a higher chance of developing malignant melanoma and lip cancer.

What’s more, the risk increased the longer someone had been taking the medication. This information is particularly important for older adults who are more likely to be prescribed this medication for high blood pressure.

The researchers have advised that anyone taking hydrochlorothiazide shouldn’t just stop using it suddenly without talking to their doctor. The findings from this study mean that doctors and patients need to be more aware of the risks.

It’s recommended that doctors keep an eye out for skin cancer signs in patients using this medication and that patients are careful to protect themselves from the sun, especially during the times of day when UV exposure is highest.

As a result of this research, the information that comes with hydrochlorothiazide medications has been updated. It now includes a warning about the increased risk of skin cancer, helping patients and healthcare providers make informed decisions about its use.

This study is a reminder of the importance of regularly reviewing the safety of medications, especially those prescribed for long-term conditions like high blood pressure. It’s crucial to weigh the benefits of a medication against its potential risks.

For hydrochlorothiazide, while it continues to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure, both patients and healthcare providers need to be aware of its possible side effects.

The conversation between doctors and patients about medication choices is more important than ever. It’s essential to consider personal risk factors and lifestyle when deciding on a treatment plan. For those on hydrochlorothiazide, this might mean more frequent skin checks and being extra careful about sun exposure.

This study not only sheds light on an unexpected risk associated with a common medication but also underscores the ongoing need for vigilance in healthcare to ensure the best outcomes for patients.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about blood pressure drug that may increase risk of sudden cardiac arrest, and these teas could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about nutrient that could strongly lower high blood pressure, and results showing this novel antioxidant may help reverse blood vessels aging by 20 years.

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