FDA to Patients: Do Not Stop Taking ARBs

In light of concerns raised recently in the media about disagreements among some FDA staff regarding the safety of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB), the FDA is advising that patients should not stop taking ARBs without first talking to their healthcare professional. ARBs are a class of antihypertensives that block the vasoconstrictor and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II by selectively blocking the binding of angiotensin II to the AT1 receptor in many tissues, such as vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal gland.

Health complications such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney damage can arise if high blood pressure is left untreated.

RELATED: Cardiovascular Disease Resource Center

In 2010, the FDA conducted a safety review following a meta-analysis that reported a statistically significant increase in risk of cancer in patients taking an ARB compared to those not taking an ARB. Then in June 2011, the FDA released a statement concluding the evidence did not demonstrate that ARBs increases a patient’s risk of developing cancer

Currently available ARBs include Atacand (candesartan cilexetil; AstraZeneca), Avapro (irbesartan; Sanofi Aventis), Benicar (olmesartan; Daiichi Sankyo); Cozaar (losartan potassium; Merck), Diovan (valsartan; Novartis), Micardis (telmisartan; Boehringer Ingelheim), and Teveten (eprosartan; AbbVie). Combination ARBs include Atacand HCT (candesartan and HCTZ; AstraZeneca), Avalide (irbesartan and HCTZ; Sanofi Aventis), Azor (olmesartan and amlodipine; Daiichi Sankyo), Benicar HCT (olmesartan and HCTZ; Daiichi Sankyo), Diovan HCT (valsartan and HCTZ; Novartis), Exforge (valsartan and amlodipine; Novartis), Exforge HCT (valsartan, amlodipine, and HCTZ; Novartis), Hyzaar (losartan and HCTZ; Merck), Micardis HCT (telmisartan and HCTZ; Boehringer Ingelheim), Teveten HCT (eprosartan and HCTZ; AbbVie), Twynsta (telmisartan and amlodipine; Boehringer Ingelheim), and Valturna (valsartan and aliskiren; Novartis).

Links to the full monographs can be found on our “Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker for Hypertension Chart.

For more information visit the FDA website