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Drug that treats high blood pressure increases risk of skin cancer

Written by Jonathan Block

A common medicine used to treat high blood pressure, hydrochlorothiazide, may drastically increase one’s risk for developing skin cancer, according to a new study out of Denmark.

Researchers in Denmark looked at about 80,000 Danish cases of skin cancer and determined that those people who were taking hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) had a risk of developing skin cancer — more specifically, squamous cell carcinoma — that was up to seven times greater than those not taking the drug. The risk was highest in those who had taken HCTZ for more than 10 years. Other hypertension medicines were looked at as part of the study, but none of them increased the risk of skin cancer.

“We knew that hydrochlorothiazide made the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun’s UV rays, but what is new and also surprising is that long-term use of this blood pressure medicine leads to such a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer,” study leader Anton Pottegård, PhD, of the University of Southern Denmark, said in a statement.

This post was first published in Medshadow.org.

From Just Care: About 10 million people in the US take a hypertension medication containing HCTZ. HCTZ also has been found to be strongly associated with an increased risk of lip cancer. Brand name drugs with HCTZ include Microzide, Oretic and Esidrix.

Here’s more from Just Care: 
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1 Comment

  • Re Block’s article on long term use of HCTZ. I’ve been taking for over 10 years.
    In reading one of his fine articles, I realize that maybe this drug is the reason I can no longer tolerate any skin block lotion at all. That happened suddenly it seemed as that was not a problem for close to half a century prior to taking HCTZ. I’m just now making the connection, and you can be sure my Big Pharma happy docs. didn’t. I’m 97% Irish and have the Nordic skin to go with my heritage. I’ve had Basel Cells removed on face and back. Thanks for what you do. So much of the Health Industry in in love with Big Pharma. They don’t want to hear our complaints about Meds.
    Yet Med side effects are a big factor in seniors’ quality of life. If you ever do an investigation of Fosamax, I have a story. It pretty much ruined my larynx.

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