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Heart drugs 'safe' in Covid 19 patients

Wednesday April 1st, 2020

Researchers have examined the impact of common antihypertensive drugs on patients with Covid 19.

These drugs are often prescribed to people with conditions known to put patients at raised risk of severe Covid 19.

A team led by Dr Fabian Sanchis-Gomar of the University of Valencia, Spain, looked at the effect of the drugs angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.

Their findings appeared on Monday (30 March) in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The team explains that one of the ways the virus enters the body is through an enzyme in the lungs called ACE2, which converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II. This has led to concerns that these drugs, which also work on angiotensin, may increase the danger posed by Covid 19.

But after an in-depth review of more than 60 published studies, Dr Sanchis-Gomar and his team concludes that “no studies have reported an increase in circulating angiotensin-converting enzyme levels or expression thus far, and increased expression would not necessarily imply an increased risk of infection or disease severity."

Dr Sanchis-Gomar feels that: “In agreement with current guidelines, we recommend patients with hypertension should continue taking anti-hypertensive medications without interruption.”

Co-author Dr Carl Lavie adds: “Angiotensin II is known to foster inflammation, oxygenation, vasoconstriction, and fibrosis, so it is quite conceivable that a pharmaceutical agent that can inhibit the production of this hormone could actually be very beneficial for preventing lung injury and also for systemic health.

“Certainly, it is premature right now to start these agents as a preventive measure for Covid 19 in patients with no other indicator for Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors. However, this is an active area for investigation.”

Sanchis-Gomar, F. et al. Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 and Anti-Hypertensives (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors) in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Mayo Clinic Proceedings 30 March 2020

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Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals

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