New research by scientists at w York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine has recently explored the association between the use of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and the increased likelihood of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The study was a response to small-scale investigations on animal models that suggested a few medicines can increase the risk of having COVID-19.
A few weeks ago, a joint statement by the Heart Failure Society of America, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association had also raised similar questions regarding ACE inhibitors and ARBs and their potential role in increasing the chances of having the coronavirus infection.
Although the statement did not ask people to stop taking their medicines, one study found that a lot of people had discontinued their prescribed medication due to the fear of getting COVID-19.
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The majority of people who had followed the practice were those taking ACE inhibitors and ARBs. Angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs are medicines which are usually prescribed for the purpose of managing blood pressure-related problems.
In most of the cases, the people who are prescribed have to take the medicine almost every day of the week to ensure their blood pressure remains stable and they do not develop any further health complications.
However, due to the rise of concerns regarding blood pressure medicines, a lot of people have stopped taking them. This can be dangerous and significantly increase the risk for major health issues including cardiovascular events such as heart attack.
The new study, whose findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, now shows no evidence for the link between ARBs and ACE inhibitors and the increased risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Read the paper here.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers investigated the cases of over twelve thousand people who were suspected cases of the coronavirus infection. Nearly forty-seven percent of these people tested positive for COVID-19. Out of the diagnosed people, seventeen percent were severely ill with the infection.
Overall, one-third of the studied people had a history of taking blood pressure medicines. In this group, only a quarter was severely ill with the coronavirus infection.
The researchers found no association between the increased risk of having COVID-19 with any form of medicines. In addition, taking blood pressure medicines from any class also did not cause a severe form of the infection.
In the paper, the authors concluded by saying “We found no substantial increase in the likelihood of a positive test for COVID-19 or in the risk of severe COVID-19 among patients who tested positive in association with five common classes of antihypertensive medications,”
The associate director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at NYU Langone Health and the leading author of the paper, Dr. Harmony R. Reynolds, says that the findings ensure people that their prescription medication does not increase the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
In addition, the researchers also suggested that people should not stop taking their medicines unless their doctor or any health professional advises them to discontinue as there is no scientific evidence to show that any medicines increase the risk of having COVID-19.
Discontinuation of blood pressure medicines or any other medication without consultation can cause health complications and potentially life-threatening situations.