Heart Beat: August 2011
Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), a commonly used class of blood pressure medications, do not increase cancer risk, according to a one-year safety review conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA, prompted by a 2010 study that suggested a small risk associated with ARBs, analyzed the data from more than 155,000 patients in 31 randomized clinical trials. ARBs are primarily used to treat hypertension, but also heart failure, cardiovascular risk reduction and diabetic kidney disease. ARBs include valsartan (Diovan), losartan (Cozaar), and irbesartan (Avapro). The FDA, in addition to ruling out an increased cancer risk associated with ARBs, also reminded patients not to stop taking their anti-hypertensive medications without first consulting with their doctors.