If you’re taking prescription high blood pressure drugs, there’s an important risk you need to know about. I’m talking about a very real threat of kidney failure… dialysis… and even a fatal heart rhythm disorder, just from taking two of the most popular blood pressure medications on the market.
Luckily, in the UK and European Union as well as Canada, your doctor would have already been told that combining an ARB blood pressure drug with one called an ACE inhibitor can be deadly.
However, shockingly in the US, patients are still being kept in the dark. So, for the sake of all our readers across the globe (including those in the UK and EU whose doctors may not have warned them yet), here’s the lowdown on this serious risk.
Dr. Franz Messerli helped found the American Society of Hypertension. He’s written more than 600 scientific papers and is considered one of the top blood pressure experts in the world… and yet, he has been banging his head against the wall trying to get the news out about the deadly risks of combining ARB blood pressure drugs and ACE inhibitors.
Dr. Messerli first proved in 2009 that combining angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) with angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can be fatal. He proved it again in a study published two years ago.
When these drugs are taken together, they can cause hyperkalaemia – a super-high level of potassium that can send your heart into a deadly arrhythmia. This deadly drug duo can also trigger dangerously low blood pressure and kidney failure that could leave you on dialysis.
One kidney specialist, Dr. Sheldon Tobe, warned: “There is a synergy that happens when you use this particular drug combination but, unfortunately, it is not a synergy that benefits patients.”
That’s been enough for the rest of the world to act. European drug authorities have issued warnings about the medication combo.
The Canadian health authorities, Health Canada, forced drug labels to be changed so doctors and patients would know about the risks. And the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation issued a national press release warning that the drug combination was damaging to your kidneys and that there was no benefit to taking ARBs and ACE inhibitors together.
Unfortunately, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently rejected a petition asking for a black box label or a simple letter to doctors warning about combining ARBs and ACE inhibitors. In a stunning and arrogant 15-page response, the agency made clear that it’s well aware of the dangers of combining the drugs.
In fact, in the letter the FDA called it “well established” that using ARBs and ACE inhibitors together can cause hyperkalaemia and said that it won’t enforce any label warnings because the “magnitudes of the increases are not significant enough.”
So, to our American readers, don’t wait around until the FDA one day wakes up and does something about the danger this drug combination poses. Check the generic name of any blood pressure medications you’re on. If the name ends in “sartan,” such as azilsartan, candesartan or irbesartan, it’s an ARB. If the drug name ends in “pril,” like benazepril or captopril, it’s an ACE inhibitor.
And if you are taking both of these drugs, it’s urgent that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible about ditching one.
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Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
“FDA wrong to deny Public Citizen’s petition for black box warning on combined use of blood pressure medications” Public Citizen, April 8, 2015, citizen.org
“Blood pressure drug combos that could be lethal” The People’s Pharmacy, April 23, 2015, peoplespharmacy.com