Imagine taking a drug to lower your high blood pressure, only to find that it has made the problem worse! That’s exactly what researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University found out in a study published in August 2010. They discovered that commonly prescribed drugs to treat high blood pressure were actually raising blood pressure higher in a significant number of patients. These hypertension drugs- which included diuretics, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, raised blood pressure in around 16% of 945 patients. These patients’ blood pressure was already dangerously high even before they were given the drugs.
Researchers of the study conclude the problem is that medical doctors are adopting a one-drug-treats-all approach instead of being more careful in selecting the most appropriate drug for their patient. The study suggests that a routine blood test- measuring levels of renin, an enzyme in the blood- could help one avoid this unwanted side effect. Dr. Alderman, a former president of the American Society of Hypertension, says measuring renin levels in the blood is useful in predicting “the most appropriate treatment.”
If you are on one or more pharmaceutical drugs to treat high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension) and the blood pressure doesn’t seem to be going down (or is worsening), talk to your family doctor or licensed naturopathic doctor to get your renin levels checked.
SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, 2010; doi: 10.1038/ajh.2010.114