At the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists reported that calcium channel blockers, which are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, were associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in postmenopausal women.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Using subjects from the Women’s Health Initiative, the scientists found that women who had used short-acting calcium channel blockers at any time had a 66 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Women who had used the drugs for three or more years had a 107 percent increase risk.
Although all hypertensive medications have serious adverse effects, calcium channel blockers — one of the most widely prescribed drug classes for high blood pressure — seem to cause more problems than others. I rarely prescribe calcium channel blockers.
Now, with pancreatic cancer a risk, I recommend even more strongly using other medications to treat hypertension.
There are plenty to choose from. Calcium channel blockers should be a last resort.
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