High blood pressure medications help survive the flu

Results of a study carried out by a group of employees of the Aarhus University clinic (Denmark), published at Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers compared mortality rates among 568,000 patients admitted to hospitals in Denmark due to a severe course flu and pneumonia between 2005 and 2018. Just over a hundred thousand of them were constantly taking medications belonging to two popular classes of drugs that normalize blood pressure – angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin 2 receptor blockers (ARBs), and almost 38 thousand were taking another type of drug for hypertension – calcium channel blockers (BCC).

Data analysis showed that among those who took ACE inhibitors or ARBs, the mortality rate and risk of admission to the intensive care unit were slightly lower than those who took CCBs. The mortality rate among those who took ACE inhibitors or ARBs was also lower compared to those who did not take drugs for hypertension at all, but taking these drugs did not affect the risk of being admitted to intensive care.

“While we have not investigated whether the results obtained for patients with influenza and pneumonia can be directly transferable to patients with COVID-19, it seems that ACE inhibitors still somehow protect the lungs from damage, which we did not see in patients. taking a different type of drugs to lower blood pressure “, – noted lead author Christian Fynbo Christiansen.

The fact is that the results of the study conducted by Christiansen and his colleagues could play a role in the ongoing discussion in the scientific community about the effect of ACE inhibitors on the survival of patients with severe COVID-19. Some doctors and scientists believe that taking these drugs can contribute to the death of the disease, since the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the cells of the respiratory tract using the same ACE receptors as ACE inhibitors.

In addition, more ACE receptors appear on the cell surface, which means more “gateways” for the virus. This is due to the fact that drugs artificially reduce the level of ACE in the body, and he compensates for this decrease by increasing the number of receptors. An indirect confirmation of this hypothesis is the fact that among patients with severe COVID-19, there are a lot of hypertensive patients taking ACE inhibitors. At the same time, several studies on this topic have not found a link between taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs and the risk of death from COVID-19.

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