If you’re taking an ACE inhibitor to manage your blood pressure, there’s something you need to know: New research shows these drugs could increase your risk of lung cancer.
In fact, Dr. Marc Micozzi—who’s a former cancer researcher for the National Institutes of Health—believes that this could be the exact reason why so many non-smokers develop lung cancer every year.
Today you’ll see the evidence behind this shocking new link and how to tell if you really need these drugs to manage your blood pressure…
ACE inhibitors could increase your risk of lung cancer 31 percent
In Dr. Micozzi’s Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol, he cites a UK study where the ACE inhibitor/lung cancer link was analyzed data on nearly one million patients.
He describes the results: “All in all, the risk for lung cancer among people who took ACE inhibiting drugs was 29 percent higher, independent of their smoking history.
“There was also a dose-response effect over time. After five years of taking the drug, there was a 22 percent increased risk. But after 10 years, the risk increased to 31 percent.
“And the study probably didn’t even quantify the ceiling for risk—because people can and do take ACE inhibitors for 20, 30, or even 40 years.”
Beware the telltale chronic cough
ACE inhibitors work by blocking angiotensin converting enzyme (or ACE). This has the effect of relaxing blood vessels, but with a price to pay.
Dr. Micozzi explains, “Your body naturally keeps ACE in a delicate balance with two other enzymes—renin and aldosterone. So artificially blocking one enzyme in this balance is bound to cause serious problems, as this study clearly found.”
He singles out one ACE inhibitor in particular: lisinopril. In fact, he calls it a “terrible drug” because it causes an immediate chronic cough, which isn’t surprising because the drug interferes with normal lung metabolism.
“Perhaps,” he says, “the cough is an early sign of lung cancer? Maybe doctors should take note of when a drug causes a terrible, chronic cough. Could it be that the body is trying to reject it—and for good reason?!”
What exactly is the threshold for high blood pressure?
Dr. Micozzi points out that with the millions of people who use ACE inhibitors, the potential for harm is alarmingly high.
And the irony is that many people who are using the drugs may not even need them. And that’s especially true of older people.
Research suggests that moderate increases in blood pressure as you age may actually be good for your health.
The widely accepted “gold standard” blood pressure is 120/80. But based on new evidence, a government committee of medical experts has increased the “safe” blood pressure levels for people over age 60.
In fact, The committee recommended that treatments to reduce blood pressure for this age group not begin until BP levels are over 150/90. And a recent article in the British Medical Journal suggested raising the level at which drug treatment should begin to 160/100.
Dr. Micozzi adds, “One thought is that blood pressures slightly above ‘normal’ may actually assist older people in maintaining adequate blood circulation to the heart muscle and brain—thus helping to stave off heart attacks and strokes, not to mention vascular dementia.
“And slightly higher blood pressure may also help pump more oxygen and glucose to sensitive tissues like the brain, preserving memory and cognition.”
The bottom line here is pretty clear. If you’re currently using an ACE inhibitor, talk to your doctor about these concerns and the potential lung cancer risk. And whether or not you really need a drug to help manage your blood pressure.
“Study links ACEIs and lung cancer, but it shouldn’t raise alarm bells” Pharmacy Today 2019; 25(1): P7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptdy.2018.12.027