Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, it was feared that certain blood pressure medications could adversely affect COVID-19 patients.
Millions of Americans take blood pressure medications, known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs. Months ago, publications indicated these medications could put you at risk for serious COVID-19 complications, but a recent Penn clinical study found just the opposite.
According to Penn Medicine’s Dr. Jordana Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, the trial observed hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking blood pressure meds and compared them to patients who were not.
“In those people who continued their medicine, there was no difference in terms of the risk of how severe their COVID hospitalization was compared to those who stopped this medication,” she said. “They had similar length of hospitalization, they had similar risk of ending up in an intensive care unit, or ending up intubated, requiring a machine to help them breathe, and a similar risk of death.”
About 48 million people in the U.S. currently take blood pressure medications, Cohen said, and about 41 million of them are specifically on ACE inhibitors or ARBs.
“That’s part of why we felt this was so important to do a trial to determine the answer,” she added, “because if that many people were potentially stopping these medications, we were very concerned it could result in an increased long-term risk of heart disease and kidney disease.”