Common BP drug raises skin cancer risk
A new study, led by Danish-based researchers, shows that one of the most popular drugs used worldwide in the treatment of hypertension raises the risk of skin cancer by seven times.
Hydrochlorothiazide users may be at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer, according to new research.
The study was led by Anton Pottegård, associate professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and the findings were published in the Journal of the American Association of Dermatology.
Pottegård and colleagues examined the link between the common drug hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.
HCTZ is a popular diuretic used to treat water retention and high blood pressure. In fact, according to some studies, it is “the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug worldwide.”
The researchers were prompted in their endeavor by the fact that HCTZ has been linked with an increased risk of lip cancer in the past. In fact, a study led by Pottegård attributed 11 percent of lip cancer cases to the drug.
Moreover, HCTZ, the authors explain, makes the skin more sensitive to the damage of ultraviolet (UV) rays, due to its photosensitizing effects. This was a further reason for the researchers to examine the drug.
Using national databases, Pottegård and colleagues examined the use of HCTZ in over 80,000 patients who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, and compared it with its use in a group of 1.5 million healthy controls.
Additionally, the researchers considered the use of other antihypertensive medication.
New research uncovers a gene responsible for encoding a certain protein, which, if blocked, could stop the spread of melanoma.
The research revealed that those who took HCTZ were up to seven times more likely to develop skin cancer. More specifically, the antihypertensive drug raised the risk of both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma – a less serious form of skin cancer.
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