Some Blood Pressure Medications, Like Lotensin, Prinivil, and Altace, May Increase Schizophrenia Risks: Study

The findings of a new study suggest side effects of some blood pressure medications, such as Lontensin, Prinivil and Altace, may increase the risk of schizophrenia by targeting certain genes.

The class of medications, known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, appear to increase the risk late-onset schizophrenia, and may also cause symptoms among those who already have the mental disorder, according to findings were published online this month by the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Australian researchers conducted a 2-sample mendelian randomization analysis, looking at the effects of the drugs on a single-nucleotide variant (SNV). It included data on 40,675 patients with schizophrenia and compared them to 64,643 control subjects. It also compared more than 20,000 patients with bipolar disorder to more than 31,000 controls, and more than 135,000 patients with major depressive disorder and nearly 345,000 controls.

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According to the findings ACE inhibitors increased the risk of schizophrenia by 75%.

“Findings suggest an adverse association of lower ACE messenger RNA and protein levels with schizophrenia risk,” the researchers determined. “These findings warrant greater pharmacovigilance and further investigation into the effect of ACE inhibitors, particularly those that are central acting, on psychiatric symptoms in patients with schizophrenia, as well as the role of ACE inhibitor use in late-onset schizophrenia.”

Of particular concern is the fact that ACE inhibitors are widely used, prescribed to millions of Americans with hypertension.

The drugs have been linked to other health concerns as well. A November 2018 study warned they could increase the risk of lung cancer by as much as 14%. In addition, there has been conflicting data over whether the class of drugs could potentially increase the risk of coronavirus or increase the severity of symptoms.

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