Blood pressure drugs tied to breast cancer risk

The long-term use of high blood pressure medications could increase the risk of breast cancer, according to new research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.   The study concluded that taking calcium-channel blockers--a commonly prescribed drug for hypertension--for 10 years or more was associated with a higher rate of breast cancer. In 2010, 678 million prescriptions were filled for drugs in this class.

In a study of 2,763 women in the Seattle region, published by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers looked to pinpoint the relationship between antihypertensives and breast cancer risk.  Of the population evaluated, 880 of the women had invasive ductal breast cancer, 1,027 had invasive lobular breast cancer and 856 had no cancer and served as a control group.  The use and duration of the high blood pressure drugs was evaluated, and the scientists found that women who took calcium-channel blockers for 10 or more years were associated with higher risks of both ductal and lobular breast cancers.  The correlation did not vary much based on the type of calcium-channel blockers--such as short-acting, long-acting, dihydropyridines or non-dihydropyridines.

There was no correlation drawn between breast cancer risk and antihypertensives in other drug classes, such as diuretics, beta-blockers or angiotensin II antogaonists.

Researchers noted, however, that women should not stop taking the high blood pressure medications based solely on the study because it is strictly observational and doesn’t show that the drugs help cause breast cancer.

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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Long-term calcium-channel blocker use for hypertension associated with higher breast cancer risk