Blood Pressure Drugs Harmful Side Effects Revealed

Per a new study, patients suffering from hypertension that are taking a common diuretic to help lower their blood pressure might be better off using a safer alternative since findings revealed that the med may be tied to side effects that can do more harm than good.

Currently, the drug chlorthalidone (Thalitone) is recommended by guidelines as the first-line diuretic for people suffering from the effects of high blood pressure. However, it can have serious side effects, ones that can be affected by switching to hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril) instead, as per researchers.

"Diuretics are recognized as among the best drugs to treat hypertension, but there are no randomized studies to help decide which diuretic is best," Dr. George Hripcsak, lead author and head of biomedical informatics at Columbia University in New York City, said.

In fact, hydrochlorothiazide  itself is the most used diuretic in the world ever since it was first introduced. However, the lure of a longer-lasting and more powerful effect leads people to opt for chlorthalidone. As a matter of fact, guidelines from both the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recommend the medicine for that same reason.

Unfortunately, a new study found that patients taking the medicine are three times more likely to suffer from lower potassium levels and other electrolyte imbalances than people taking hydrochlorothiazide. For this study, the team behind it reviewed around 17 years of data on more than 730,000 patients treated for high blood pressure. They found out that such imbalances can lead to low salt, kidney failure and even type 2 diabetes, which can be a fatal disease if left on its own.

"If you are taking chlorthalidone, then your physician should be monitoring your electrolytes and kidney function carefully," Hripcsak added.

"Until stronger evidence comes out to the contrary, I believe this study tips the scales toward hydrochlorothiazide for people taking a diuretic for high blood pressure," Dr. Harlan Krumholz, study co-author and a professor of medicine at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

, said.

Some experts, however, are quick to disagree with the findings, saying that it’s not enough to prove one drug is safer than the other. Thankfully, this led to a call for a bigger clinical trial in order to make more conclusive findings.

medicine-1582472_1280 About 1 in 10 Americans aged 12 and over take an antidepressant, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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