The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has found no evidence of a potential cancer risk in certain medications – known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – used to treat high blood pressure.
Brand names of some of the more popular ARBs include Atacand, Avapro, Benicar, Cozaar, Diovan, Micardis, and Teveten (complete list below).
The FDA launched thesafety review of ARBs after a published meta-analysis of 5 randomized clinical trials reported a small but statistically significant increase in risk of cancer in patients taking an ARB compared to patients not taking an ARB.
To further evaluate the link, FDA conducted a trial-level meta-analysis of clinical trials that included 31 trials and approximately 156,000 patients, far more than the approximately 62,000 in the published analysis. FDA’s more comprehensive meta-analysis did not show an increased risk of cancer in the patients taking an ARB medication.
Based on the review and analysis of all currently available data, the FDA said it has concluded that treatment with an ARB medication does not increase the risk of cancer.
The agency had this advice for patients:
Do not stop taking your ARB medication without talking to your healthcare professional.
Discuss any questions or concerns about ARB medications with your healthcare professional.
Report any side effects you may experience to the FDA MedWatch program using the information in the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of the page.
Additional Information for Healthcare Professionals
Know that FDA’s meta-analysis of 31 randomized controlled trials comparing ARBs to other treatment found no evidence of an increased risk of incident (new) cancer, cancer-related death, breast cancer, lung cancer, or prostate cancer in patients receiving ARBs.
Report adverse events involving ARB medications to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of the page.
Table 1.Approved Angiotensin Receptor Blockers
Single Ingredient Angiotensin Receptor Blockers
Combination Angiotensin Receptor Blockers
candesartan and hydrochlorothiazide
irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide
olmesartan and amlodipine
olmesartan and hydrochlorothiazide
valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide
valsartan and amlodipine
valsartan, amlodipine, and hydrochlorothiazide
losartan and hydrochlorothiazide
telmisartan and hydrochlorothiazide
eprosartan and hydrochlorothiazide
telmisartan and amlodipine
valsartan and aliskiren