People with high blood pressure are advised not to stop high blood pressure medication because of the coronavirus threat.
Some international researchers have suggested that the use of commonly prescribed blood pressure tablets increase the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), however the suggested link is based on the observation that they increase levels of the ‘ACE2’ enzyme in the body, the same enzyme that the coronavirus uses to infect the body.
Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings said at this stage, there is no evidence from people infected with the COVID-19 virus to confirm this theory. “Continue to take all your medicines, including ARBs or ACE inhibitors, as prescribed by your doctor,” he said.
The medications, ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker) and ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure, as well as in cases of heart failure and in treatment following a heart attack. “These medications are widely used and considered safe. They have important benefits in treating high blood pressure and in reducing the risk of illness and death in many chronic health conditions, including heart failure,” Professor Garry Jennings added.
Stopping prescribed medicine could do more harm than good: “The dangers of suddenly stopping your blood pressure medications are clear and well known whereas the interaction of these types of medicines with COVID-19 is hypothetical and unproven,” he concluded.
The Heart Foundation along with other international authorities is closely monitoring the emerging experience on coronavirus (COVID-19) and cardiovascular disease.
*Source: Heart Foundation