High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular disease. Affecting around a third of the adult French population, it is also known as a silent killer that can lead to particularly serious health consequences. As you probably already know, there are several treatments available to manage this common disease. The first-line treatment is the prescription of two drugs: angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). The first being prescribed more often than the second. However, a recent study published on July 26 in the journal Hypertension shows that ACEs are more likely to cause side effects than ARBs. Explanations.
Some medicines for high blood pressure can cause side effects
To arrive at its conclusions, the researchers followed three million people in the United States, Germany and South Korea, taking an antihypertensive drug for the first time. None of the participants had a history of heart disease or stroke. Out of these 3 million individuals, the study authors selected the medical records of patients who started treatment for high blood pressure with a single drug between 1996 and 2018.
The researchers found the occurrence of consequences associated with the heart, as well as strokes in 2,297,881 people treated with ACEs compared to 673,938 patients taking ARBs. A total of 51 adverse reactions were identified.
What side effects are these exactly?
Scientists haven’t noticed any significant difference in the frequency of heart attacks, strokes, or other heart events. However, they found differences in terms of the occurrence of side effects.
Compared to patients taking ARBs, those treated with ACEs were 3.3 times more likely to experience fluid build-up, swelling of the deep layers of skin and mucous membranes. These people were also 32% more likely to have a cough or develop pancreatitis. Finally, they had an 18% higher risk of suffering from bleeding in the digestive tract.
Attention : If you notice any side effects associated with your medicine, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
Hypertension (juillet 2021) : « Comparative First-Line Effectiveness and Safety of ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers: A Multinational Cohort Study », RuiJun Chen et coll.