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Blood Pressure Drug not linked to a Greater Risk of Breast Cancer

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:37 AM EST
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A commonly prescribed blood pressure drug was not linked to increasing women's risk of breast cancer, a new study concluded. Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, UT reported that long-term use of calcium channel blocker medications is safe for managing blood pressure.

"We found no robust data that calcium channel blocker medications increase a person's risk of breast cancer," said Jeffery L. Anderson, MD, a cardiologist and researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, reported in the press release. "Given the important role calcium channel blocker medications play in treating heart conditions, we think it's premature to discontinue their use. At this point we recommend that patients continue taking these medications to treat their hypertension."

For this study, the team examined the health records of more than 3,700 women who were prescribed calcium channel blocker medications for managing their elevated blood pressure. The data were taken from two Intermountain Healthcare databases. All of the women, who were between the ages of 50 and 70, did not have a history of breast cancer. The team compared the breast cancer risk in women taking calcium channel blocker medications to similar women who did not take these medications.

In one of the study, the researchers found that the use of these blood pressure medications led to a minimal increase in breast cancer risk by 1.6 times. However, in a second study, the team reported that long-term use of calcium channel blocker medications was tied to a 50 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.

Due to the contradicting findings from the studies, the team reasoned that other factors, such as selection biases, could have contributed to the slight increase in risk found in the first study. The team concluded that calcium channel blocker medications should still be used.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.

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