Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications May Complicate COVID-19 Treatment: Study

According to the findings of new research, blood pressure medications may increase an individual’s of suffering serious side effects and death from COVID-19.

New research analyzing COVID-19 patients indicates those who take blood pressure medication face worse outcomes and are more likely to experience complications than those who aren’t on blood pressure drugs.

The findings of the three new studies were presented by researchers from Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in New York at the virtual meeting of the American Heart Association last week, indicating that COVID-19 patients who take blood pressure medication face worse outcomes and are more likely to experience complications with the infection. However, the results are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

High blood pressure is the most common chronic health condition among COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization, which may complicate their treatment in unexpected ways.

According to one study’s findings, out of 11,000 COVID-19 patients requiring medical treatment, 42% had high blood pressure and 23% had diabetes.

High blood pressure alone is linked with a higher likelihood of death in patients with coronavirus; double the risk of patients with mild or low blood pressure,

Furthermore, those with severe low blood pressure, or hypotension, were nine times more likely to suffer kidney injury than those without low blood pressure. Patients with mild hypotension faced four times the risk of kidney injury. A history of high blood pressure increased a person’s risk of kidney injury about fivefold.

Another study indicated 33% of patients taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for blood pressure died in the hospital if they had COVID-19. Comparatively, roughly 13% of patients taking neither of the drugs died in the hospital.

Researchers emphasize some COVID-19 patients must be taken off their blood pressure medications if their blood pressure falls to dangerously low levels. If they continue to take their blood pressure medications while being treated for COVID-19 they could develop serious kidney injury or even die.

Throughout the pandemic, researchers have struggled to determine the roll of blood pressure medications on COVID-19 patients. At first, there were concerns the medications increased the dangers of the virus. However, the findings of a study published in May indicated patients who take ACE inhibitors or ARBs are not more likely to suffer worse symptoms from COVID-19.

Furthermore, a second study published in July concurred with these findings, indicating patients who take blood pressure medications do not face more severe illness from COVID-19 or have an increased risk of death. These findings contradict the conclusions of the newest trio of studies.

If patients have low blood pressure when they are admitted to the hospital, they have a higher risk of suffering serious complications and a lower risk of surviving coronavirus. The underlying conditions the patients have increases the risk of complications, not necessarily the medications themselves.

However, researchers warn it would be unwise for doctors to keep patients on these medications because of some benefit to their blood pressure when the real concern is surviving COVID-19. Doctors should take patients off the medications in an abundance of caution while treating patients during the global pandemic.

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