The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a recently published study that suggests medications used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), may increase cancer risk. Brand name ARBs include Atacand, Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar, Diovan, Micardis, and Teveten.
The published meta-analysis combined data from more than 60,000 patients in several long-term, randomized, controlled clinical trials evaluating ARBs during which adverse events related to cancer were captured. New cancer occurrence was 7.2 for patients receiving ARBs compared to 6.0 for patients not receiving ARBs. No statistically significant difference in cancer deaths were reported.
The FDA first made health care providers aware of its ongoing safety review last month. In its most recent update, the FDA says it has not concluded that ARBs increase the risk of cancer. The agency is continuing to review information related to this safety concern and will alert the public when additional information is available. Meantime, the agency believes the benefits of ARBs continue to outweigh their potential risk. People on ARBs should not stop taking their medication unless told to do so by their health care professional.
Any adverse events with this or any other drug should be reported to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program at www.FDA.gov/MedWatch.