News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Popular high blood pressure drug linked to increased skin cancer risk

Health Industry Hub | August 5, 2020 |
[Total: 1    Average: 4/5]

Pharma News: Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic, is one of the most prescribed high blood pressure drugs and is used alone or in combination with other medications in Australia.

Use of hydrochlorothiazide has shown links to increased risks of developing skin cancer among older Australians, a new study by UNSW Sydney researchers shows. 

The drug contains photosynthesising properties, which can make skin more sensitive to the sun.

The findings are based on a big data analysis of skin cancer rates in a case-control study among older Australians. The results, published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, support similar findings from previous international studies.

“We found increased risk for developing malignant melanoma and squamous cell cancer of the lip (lip cancer) with hydrochlorothiazide use,” says Dr Benjamin Daniels, lead author of the study and research fellow at UNSW Medicine’s Centre for Big Data Research in Health (CBDRH). A pharmacoepidemiologist, Dr Daniels studies the use and effects of drugs in specific population groups.

“For lip cancer, the risk also appears to be cumulative – that is, the longer that hydrochlorothiazide is used, the higher the risk of developing lip cancer.”

High blood pressure – or hypertension – is a chronic illness affecting more than a third of Australians over the age of 18. It’s usually defined as blood pressure levels above 140/90. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to serious health conditions, like stroke and heart disease. 

Management of the illness generally requires prescribed medicine, like hydrochlorothiazide, alongside lifestyle changes, like eating a healthier diet and getting regular exercise.

“Hypertension is a condition that needs to be carefully managed,” said Dr Daniels. “We don’t want anyone to suddenly stop taking hydrochlorothiazide out of fear of developing skin cancer.

“The skin cancer risk is something for prescribers to be aware of. Doctors may want to consider conducting more skin checks for their patients or reinforcing advice around sun-smart behaviours that everyone should be aware of, like adequate protection when UV is higher than three and avoiding sun exposure during peak UV times.” 

To reflect this newly understood risk, the product information has been updated for medicines containing hydrochlorothiazide.

“This [update] will help prescribers and patients to make informed choices about the benefits and risks of hydrochlorothiazide-containing medicines,” a spokesperson from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said. The TGA encourages anyone who has concerns about this issue to speak with their healthcare professional.

The data for this research was provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). It included de-identified information about cancer registrations, hospitalisations, and medicine dispensings for DVA healthcare card holders (aged 65 and over) who lived in NSW between 2004 and 2015.

The researchers compared hydrochlorothiazide use in people who had been diagnosed with lip cancer (45 cases) or malignant melanoma (659 cases) compared with those with neither diagnosis (13,300 controls).

Variables like other medicine use and the ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in their hometowns were taken into account. 

“By informing physicians around the potential risk of skin cancer in Australia associated with this common treatment, we hope our findings can help improve the care of patients dealing with hypertension,” said Dr Daniels.


About the author

About the author

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam luctus finibus scelerisque. Nunc bibendum ipsum sed augue fringilla fringilla. Nullam at consectetur leo. Praesent viverra rutrum porta. Quisque vitae mi vel purus vulputate tincidunt. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Suspendisse et mi quis nisi rhoncus feugiat at ac tellus. Sed aliquam sodales nulla ac auctor. Sed pretium lobortis purus accumsan ullamcorper. Phasellus sodales vel odio in lobortis. Duis maximus sagittis bibendum. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Nunc dictum tincidunt ipsum in vestibulum. Donec ut sem consectetur, aliquam quam vitae, pharetra orci. Nam egestas non velit eu rhoncus. Duis congue neque non lacus tincidunt porta. Vestibulum ultricies pulvinar sem, molestie congue dui aliquet non.
  • Ut imperdiet leo id lorem fermentum consectetur.
  • Ut vitae orci et dui varius tincidunt.
  • Ut id magna non libero vestibulum pharetra ac faucibus nulla.
Aliquam erat volutpat. Vestibulum vitae varius diam. Nulla eget congue ante. Nunc ullamcorper sagittis augue vel dictum. Mauris finibus nibh ut pulvinar auctor. Vestibulum ut faucibus nisi. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque porta tortor ac justo malesuada elementum. Nulla tellus ante, cursus nec ex sit amet, suscipit bibendum arcu. Duis posuere orci dui, et mollis enim dictum at. Sed ullamcorper, sapien ut vulputate viverra, sem purus porttitor tellus, nec mattis mauris ligula sed risus. Nulla sagittis id ipsum eu mattis. Link to full profile

Marketing & Strategy

PRIME Award 2020 winners announced

Health Industry Hub | September 24, 2020 |

The first ever virtual PRIME Awards saw the best and brightest healthcare communications work recognised in the pharmaceutical and life […]

More


News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharma News - Australia’s first Antimicrobial Resistance Network to combat global health threat

Australia’s first Antimicrobial Resistance Network to combat global health threat

Health Industry Hub | September 24, 2020 |

Please log in to Health Industry Hub to view this content in the News menu → Pharmaceuticals sub-menu.

More


News & Trends - Medical Technology

MedTech News - Companies playing an important role in the robot-assisted surgery market

Companies playing an important role in the robot-assisted surgery market

Health Industry Hub | September 23, 2020 |

MedTech News: The market for surgical robots is expected to grow from USD 6.7 billion in 2020 to USD 11.8 […]

More


News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharma News - Roche acquires Inflazome co-founded by local researcher

Roche acquires Inflazome co-founded by local researcher

Health Industry Hub | September 23, 2020 |

Please log in to Health Industry Hub to view this content in the News menu → Pharmaceuticals sub-menu.

More