Friday, January 19, 2007

Some blood pressure drugs increase the risk of diabetes

HealthDay News: Some common blood pressure drugs can substantially increase the risk of diabetes, especially among those already at risk for the condition, U.S. researchers report.

According to the report, angiotensin–receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are the blood pressure drugs least associated with diabetes. These are followed by calcium-channel blockers.

Beta blockers and diuretics are the drugs most associated with the condition. "There are differences across the various types of drugs that we use to treat high blood pressure in people who develop diabetes," said study author Dr. William Elliott, from the department of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

The report is published in the Jan. 20 issue of The Lancet. In the study, Elliott and his colleague Peter Meyer looked at 22 clinical trials that included more than 143,000 people. These people had high blood pressure but did not have diabetes at the start of the trials. In each trial, the participants received long-term treatment with each class of blood pressure drugs or placebo.

The traditional medicines used to treat high blood pressure in the United States are diuretics and beta blockers, Elliott said. "It so happens that they are the two drug classes that are most likely to precipitate diabetes. It turns out the two of the new classes of drugs -- ACE inhibitors and ARBs -- are the two that have the least amount of diabetes associated with them. In the middle, we have calcium-channel blockers," he said.

Elliott noted that your risk of getting diabetes while taking diuretics and beta blockers depends on a number of factors. These include how long you are on the medication, your weight, your family history of diabetes, whether or not you have recently gained weight, and other risk factors, he said.

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