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Popular Blood Pressure Pills Under Cancer Cloud

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A front-page story in the Wall Street Journal has blown the lid off a highly controversial internal squabble at the FDA involving a popular category of blood pressure medicine. ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world. Millions of people take such medications daily. In the U.S., nearly $8 billion is spent annually on such drugs.

 ARBs ON THE U.S. MARKET 

  • Atacand (candesartan)

  • Avapro (irbesartan)

  • Benicar (olmesartan)

  • Cozaar (losartan)

  • Diovan (valsartan)

  • Edarbi  (azilsartan)
  • Micardis (telmisartan)

  • Teveten (eprosartan)

We first became aware of a possible linkage between ARBs and cancer nearly three years ago after reading an article in Lancet Oncology (online, June 14, 2010). The researchers reviewed data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and information on cancer deaths. The authors concluded:

"In conclusion, this meta-analysis shows that ARBs are associated with a modestly increased risk of new cancer occurrence. Among the solid organ cancers examined, only the risk of lung cancer was significantly increased. Given limited data, it is not possible to draw conclusions about the exact risk of cancer associated with each particular ARB. Our findings warrant further investigation."

 A year later, on June 2, 2011, the FDA issued its own analysis that contradicted this concern:

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that a group of medications used to control high blood pressure, called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), do not increase the risk of developing cancer in patients using the medications...The FDA has determined that any concern about a relationship between ARB use and development of cancer has been resolved by this analysis. People currently taking any antihypertensive medication should not stop taking it without talking to their health care professional first."

The FDA left little doubt that it had reviewed the matter carefully and declared all clear. No cancer risk and nothing to worry about.

 We contacted the author of the original research to try and get a handle on what was going on. We also dug into the data a bit further ourselves. We discovered that the FDA included research that lasted little more than one year. The average follow up was 39 months for the 31 trials included in the FDA analysis. That might not have been long enough to detect a true cancer signal.

After talking to experts at the National Toxicology Program about how long it would take to detect a cancer signal from a known carcinogen, it became clear that 3.5 years was woefully inadequate. These scientists doubted you could prove cigarette smoking caused cancer after such a short period of time. But the FDA was satisfied that its analysis slammed the door on this controversy. We contacted the FDA and posed the following concern:

"If the FDA relies primarily on RCTs [randomized controlled trials] to assess cancer risk and most such studies last no longer than a few years, the agency will be handicapped in its power to evaluate a risk to patients."

The FDA did not respond to our concern.

Barely three weeks later (June 20, 2011), however, a study from Taiwan published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed that patients with diabetes taking ARBs such as candesartan (Atacand) and telmisartan (Micardis) experienced an increased risk of cancer.

In September of 2011 another study pointed to problems. This time it came from Germany. Researchers detected lung cancer at a significantly higher rate in kidney transplant patients who had smoked and had been given ACE inhibitors or ARBs. In a sense, these people were like canaries in the coal mine. Because of their susceptibility, they were a highly vulnerable population.

Despite such mounting evidence, the FDA has stood by its official conclusion that there is no cancer risk associated with ARBs.

Now the Wall Street Journal has uncovered a substantial rift within the agency itself. Dr. Thomas Marciniak is an FDA reviewer. He was concerned that the data the agency had reviewed might have been incomplete. According to the Wall Street Journal report:

"Dr. Marciniak said in an internal analysis viewed by the Journal that the FDA meta-analysis didn't count cases of 'lung carcinomas' as lung cancers, which they are."

Dr. Marciniak analyzed the raw data supplied by the drug companies and discovered that there was roughly a 24% increased risk of lung cancer among patients who took ARBs. He encouraged his colleagues at the FDA to inform doctors and patients about this risk.

His FDA bosses, however, discount his research and appear in no mood to issue any warning. If anything, they are circling the wagons. Dr. Marciniak's boss, Ellis Unger, apparently told the Wall Street Journal that the cancer concerns are a "diversion." Unger's position: "We have no reason to tell the public anything new."

 

THE PEOPLE'S PHARMACY BOTTOM LINE:

What are we to make of all this? First, we have asked the FDA repeatedly about how it determines if a drug causes cancer. You would be surprised to learn that there are a great many medications on the market that raise the risk of tumors in animals. The FDA lists this in the official prescribing information, but rarely requires drug companies to do long-term follow-up studies to determine if there is a problem in humans. That leaves physicians, pharmacists and patients in the lurch.

Even when there is a clear signal that a drug is linked to cancer, the FDA seems puzzled about what to do about the problem. Just such a concern has been raised with the popular diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone). A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Aug. 9, 2012) suggested that people with type 2 diabetes who took Actos were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer compared to those taking other antidiabetes drugs.

France and Germany banned Actos in 2011 because of cancer concerns. All the FDA has done is issue a warning:

"The use of the diabetes medication Actos (pioglitazone) for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer."

Needless to say, such a warning leaves doctors and patients in a terrible double bind. Another class of drugs for treating diabetes is now also under scrutiny. GLP-1 diabetes drugs rake in over $9 billion each year. They include brands such as Byetta, Januvia, Onglyza and Victoza. An article in the New York Times (May 30, 2013) reveals a fascinating story about a researcher who studied Januvia in animals and found "worrisome changes in the pancreas of the rats that could lead to pancreatic cancer."

The FDA has issued a warning about "pre-cancerous cellular changes called pancreatic duct metaplasia" linked to the GLP-1 diabetes drugs. But once again, the agency is moving very cautiously. We will have to wait to see whether the millions of people taking such medications are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

In the meantime, we do agree that no one should stop taking ARBs, Actos or GLP-1 diabetes drugs without discussing the controversies with the prescribing doctor. That said, we hope patients will bring the articles from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to their health professionals' attention. Doctors, pharmacists and nurses need to be aware of these cancer concerns so they won't be taken by surprise when the FDA finally takes action.

Wall Street Journal article on ARBs and Cancer

New York Times article on diabetes drugs

 

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34 Comments

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Does GLP-1 include Glipicide?

This is just one more reason to distrust the FDA. I took Diovan for a number of years, but eating MORE salt (good pink salt) and using my ResPerate has brought my blood pressure down.

Five years ago my husband underwent a prostatectomy by da Vinci robotic procedure. He lost a lot of blood and had a very slow recovery. Since then he has been diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration or Parkinsons Plus. The family now wonders if some of his problems may be traced back to the surgery. Do you know anything about this issue?
MLD

People's Pharmacy response: we're sorry we do not know anything about a connection between the surgery and the subsequent brain disorder.

I send People's Pharmacy a "special hug" for caring enough to put the obvious in front of the public on these drugs.

I've practiced Medicine and Surgery for half a century migrating to fewer and fewer drugs to the point where I use no drugs in my Medical Practice and quite successfully.

Using Basic Medical Physiology principles, much more often than not identifies the cause and obviates the need to reflexively prescribe a drug to attenuate symptom(s). In actual experiential fact, I have confirmed in my Medical Practice over and over that most of the symptoms we M.D.s prescribe drugs for are actually symptoms arising from nutritional deficiencies.

It is so rewarding to really serve, helping people without hurting them with a drug!

Thank you and many blessings on your needed work!

This just in! We have the best FDA that money can buy - part of best government that money can buy!

Have been taking Benicar for years. And have had breast cancer. I truly doubt Benicar had anything to do with that. However, I have had thoughts of questioning my doctor regarding the usefulness in the continuation of taking it.

Have appoint on Monday & will definitely will be discussing it with her.

Let's face it, the FDA is a joke just like our government. NO ONE in ANY government institution cares about any one but themsleves. ALL of them are there for a GREAT pay check and we can all drop dead as far as they are concerned.

We have become a nation of drug addicts due to our doctors and our government being in cahoots with the drug companies. When we allow most of our drugs to be made made in foreign lands with NO CONTROLS OF ANY KIND, we are due to have nothing but trouble.

SO, I guess we deserve it! We trust our doctors, we trust our governemt and we trust the drug industries. Does that tell you anything at all? They ALL make their living off the sick.

Guess who that is? US! CASE CLOSED!

Once again People's Pharmacy has provided information that can save our lives.
Just three days ago I asked my cardio if losartin causes lung cancer and he said there is no evidence it does. Now we know it does, the corrupt FDA has been covering the dangers of ARBs. I am a two time cancer patient while on losartin. I don't want lung cancer too. I cannot take any other class of b/p meds and I would rather die than go through agonizing cancer treatment again. And lung cancer treatment is not often successful. If my cardio can't come up with another drug, and apparently he can't, I don't know what to do and I have a very bleak future as do many others.
Thanks to People's Pharmacy for sending out this WSJ article.
The FDA has blood on their hands for all the people they have caused to suffer and die because FDA protects only Big Pharma, not patients. In our government, it is all about money and nothing else matters.

Thanks for relating your experience with MORE salt and ResPerate. My cardio tells me to cut out salt, but there is no evidence I am salt sensitive.
His nurse whispered to me that many patients do better by eating more salt!
Now you confirm what she said. I think many people do need more salt, especially in the summer when we perspire and lose salt. And we need to mediate to lower b/p and I have heard ResPerate helps if it is used as directed. But the same technique can be used without buying the expensive tape machine to listen to.
I meditate and spend more time in the garden and I avoid rushing and being around vexinig people. Is anyone sure b/p meds prevent stroke and heart attack? I wonder.

Is that actually a pink salt or do you just mean more salt?

Interesting subject--would like to hear more

I want my husband to be aware of this information although he isn't on these specific blood pressure medications. He needs to be informed in case any of his doctors talk about switching his medications around.

Tryed many medications for high blood pressure unsuccessfully, experiencing side effects such as headaches, sleepiness, lack of energy, and feeling ill, until doctor tried one of the angiotensin receptor blockers, Cozaar. I've been on it for several years with good control of blood pressure and no identifiable side-effects.

This possible association of Cozaar with increased risk of cancer is upsetting -- now what do I do? As I've aged, my tolerance for new medications without unacceptable reactions is less and less. Thank you for your efforts to keep the public informated!
HB

To All on high blood pressure meds, here's my own experience to try all natural methods to reduce HBP.

I am 62 y/o female with high family risk of heart disease. All grandparents died of stroke/heart disease as did both parents. 2 siblings have had heart attacks. Call me lucky? I don't know, but so far I have avoided BP meds but have 5 siblings, both male and female on them.

Have your vitamin D level checked even if you have to pay for it. I take vitamin d3, ubiquinol (coQ10), fish oil and magnesium. None of these interfere with prescription drugs if you need to take BP meds but should help you to be on a lower amount. All of these "naturals" have other health benefits besides HBP. Good Luck!

In this alert, you stated: "You would be surprised to learn that there are a great many medications on the market that raise the risk of tumors in animals. The FDA lists this in the official prescribing information, but rarely requires drug companies to do long-term follow-up studies to determine if there is a problem in humans."

I've practiced pharmacy for over 30 years, and I believe that it's possible for many drugs to cause cancer simply from the chemical nature of drugs. They are substances that are foreign to the human body just like other proven carcinogens. Now, that fact alone doesn't confirm drugs as carcinogenic, but these substances might cause cellular changes that none of us know. Unfortunately, it would probably cost trillions to know for sure.

I don't advocate anyone stopping a drug because the benefit of the medication may far outweigh an increased risk of cancer, but we should be able to make informed decisions before putting a chemical substance in our bodies.

My point is simply that I'm not surprised by these meta-analysis studies, and I believe that there will be more in the years to come.

The problem is the FDA. It needs a thorough house cleaning just as badly as the current IRS scandal. Too many top people at the agency have ties to drug companies before their FDA work or they have to protect their drug company connections so they can get a job after leaving the FDA.

To rely on the FDA to put public protection first is a joke.

Interesting. I would not call the FDA untrustworthy per se. Rather, I would point to the combination of the way the FDA drug (and device) approval process works with the way pharmaceutical companies do business. Patients prescribed a drug that's been on the market for less than 10 years are at risk. They are, in essence, unknowing test subjects.

The approval process does not require companies to do extensive, if any, post-marketing studies on long-term effects of new drugs. So, most don't do much more than repeat that, "adverse reactions should be reported to the FDA", burying that particular warning in the technical jargon that's given to docs about new drugs. And, they frequently offer "bonuses" of one form or another to physicians to get them to prescribe the latest thing on the market. No one gives much thought to the fact that the "long-term effects" portion of the pre-approval process is usually 3 years or less. No one in the position to do anything notices or cares what happens the guinea pigs - I mean patients - who are given these new to the market drugs ... except for the way this impacts the company's bottom line.

Also, these kind of reactions - like an increased risk of certain cancers - take time to manifest themselves. So patients don't necessarily see, or report to the doc that first prescribed it, what's happened as being a result of a new drug.

This is also personally interesting, since I took Benicar for a few years. Now I know that when I see my doctor, I need to make him aware of the potential for this "side effect". Yet another thing to watch for...

This is so disheartening. I took Diovan for years to protect my kidneys from my diabetes. Actos for the diabetes. They took rezulin off the market because of liver concerns (best drug for my diabetes I have ever taken, no side effects), yet left these more dangerous drugs alone.

I am a four time cancer survivor, Four!; how much influence did the drugs have towards developing those cancers? Now I use insulin, fight being put on bp meds, watch my diet more closely, so much garbage in the stores. I am 75, have fibro with a lot of fatigue. How much energy can I expend protecting myself from corrupt government and all powerful pharmaceutical companies who have plenty of money to buy people?

Plus re the comment above about where our meds come from, I remember when importing a medication, even from Canada, was a big no-no, because, of course, we did not know what went into those meds. Possibly too much, or too little, medication, rat tails and feces, etc. Now, with greed rampant, those cheaper meds are imported by our drug companies so that profits can be further increased and CEOs live even higher on the hog!

All of the recent comments to this med-alert concerning cancer: /BP meds shows how many people are affected by the shoddy drugs we are forced to buy. As a retired nurse, I was around when one did not have to worry whether a prescription was safe to use or not. Now, Thank God for the Web and the Graedons! We have to police every drug foisted on us for myriad reasons instead of just one reason, that we actually need it.

I've been on at least 10 different B/p meds in the last 18 years. None lowered my blood pressure, and I suffered multiple side effects from most of them including hospitalization. Some people are helped. But if one ARB or (3) beta-blockers fail to fix it, why don't the Drs. admit that some hypertension is just idiopathic! The Resparate machine helps; meditation definitely makes a difference along with diet and walking...

After being handed a big bag of new samples of a very new drug last month, my husband urged me to check it out before taking any. Much to my chagrin, the drug had (6) conditions that were contraindicated for this med. I have (4) and have had for many years: Asthma, allergies, angina and a low pulse. Death was only one of the things that could occur if one ingested the drug with any of these conditions. Also, it would only lower the B/p slightly.

Why would a drug that barely makes a difference and has so many contraindications even be allowed on the market? And how come my Dr. who knows my history even hand them to me? I'm sorry to say, all of us readers know the answer to this.

So, I will never take another B/P med. again! At 73, I feel better on no drugs than I did when I was younger and on them. I will do what I can with the condition I inherited and enjoy the rest of my life medication-free.

To John, the pharmacist of 30 years. You must have had patients tell you horror stories of drug side effects.
Have you heard patients say they successfully tapered off and were able to stop b/p meds?

People who comment here have offered advice on lowering blood pressure meds naturally. I think stress and nervousness causes much high b/p. Calm people I notice seldom have high b/p. If you tense up, it seems your arteries would tense up too.

Relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, healthy organic diet with no toxic commercial fed lot factory produced meat, no beef or pork at all, no fried food, low simple carb and low grain diet,no sugar or white flour, avoiding vexing people and situations, music with normal heart rhythms, all help. See the research.

I stopped nearly constant premature ventricular contractions (pvcs) by listening in a quiet room to a metronome set to 68 beats a minute. Within only two minutes my heart went into normal rhythm. After only a week, I have not had to listen to the metronome again and it has been about six month or more since I listened to the metronome. I bought it for about $10 online. My cardio had insisted I take Plavix and a beta blocker along with losartin because of the PVCs. I emailed the Graedons about this and as a result I changed cardiologists.

The new one tells me all b/p meds are bad. He knows what the metronome did for me, but it is not accepted medicine and he can't advise his patients to try it. What a pity!
A metronome is harmless. And no drugs would stop the pvcs
We aren't going to get much helpful info from doctors, mostly we get what drug salesmen tell them. That is bad medicine!

I am going to taper off losartin and diligently exercise, watch my diet, lose ten pounds, and try what patients have suggested on the People's Pharmacy such as cocoa (sweetened with a little pure stevia, not sugar or syrup) cinnamon, etc. Also I make tea of young parsley hawthorne leaves. I think I can taper off and stop losartin in a few months. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions? I would appreciate them.

If you don't call the FDA "untrustworthy" what would you call them? Much stronger words than untrustworthy describe the FDA.

No one but the drug companies and medical device manufacturers can trust the FDA; they trust and pay the FDA to do their bidding and cover up the dangers these companies are to our health.

When it comes to dangerous drugs and devices, we are on our own. The FDA has little, if any, interest in regulating drug and device companies who have the power to rule the FDA.

What we would do without these alerts from The People's Pharmacy? I do not believe most doctors keep up with these studies perhaps because they have been trained to trust the FDA and AMA without question. They are too strongly influenced by their messages/drug reps or they just do not take time (I know it's limited) to look further.

Let's hope that Dr. Marciniak, a senior FDA official, does not get fired for speaking out--it's about time someone had the courage to do so! According to Wall Street Journal reporter Thomas M Burton, Dr. Merciniak was told by the chief of his division to "discourage a safety investigation of the ARB drugs. 'This would represent a lot of man-hours, so I have to assume that there is a paucity of work in the [cardiorenal] division at this point,' the chief wrote, "or that you will be doing this mostly after hours.'"

It is significant that Dr. Marciniak discovered there was roughly a 24% increased risk of lung cancer among patients who took ARB's. Now, if you are female and have had nonmelanoma skin cancer, you have a 26% increased risk of developing lung and breast cancer (April 23 in the journal PLOS Medicine). I have had several bouts of sun-related basal cell carcinoma. Dr. Anthony Alberg, a professor of edipemiology at the Medical University of South Carolina states that some researchers suspect that the cellular machinery involved in DNA repair may not work as well is some people, leaving them at an increased risk for any type of cancer.

I am 74 and have been on ARB's for some time, but it is the only mediation that I take. I first started with diovan, then to 100-25 mg of losartan/HCT. On my recent physical, I told my geriatrist that diuretics can elevate blood glucose. As I am pre-diabetic, he then prescribed 325-12.5 of diovan because my BP was 144 that day; I fasted and had not had my losartan in 30 hours. My BP this morning before losartan was 130/67. I strongly believe he over-reacted to my BP that day, and I will not take the high dose of diovan, especially in light of this new study on ARB's. There are too many alternatives! I already have several uncontrolled risks for breast cancer and perhaps risks for any type of cancer according to Dr. Alberg.

As Tony Isaacs (NaturalNews 6/3/13) put it, "the FDA became the drug companies' lapdog instead of their watchdog. . . and doctors are taught that the way to treat illness is to prescribe patented drugs and that the only effective safe and legal medical procedures are those approved by the AMA and the FDA." Virtually all of the major diseases--cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes--are treated largely unsuccessfully by approved unnatural drugs and procedures. Safer and more effective natural cures for all of them have been ignored, suppressed and persecuted and suppressed - largely because of the competition they represent to mainstream profits."

Am catching up on my mail from peoples pharmacy, and am very concerned at what I have just read about angiotenisen drugs. I am on losarten, potassium tablets, 100mg.daily, have been for over two years, along with carvedeilol.12.5mg, by mouth twice a day, amlodpine 5mg, also 20mg furosemide and 10 meq potassium caps every other day, as I have "leaking heart valves, two one on each side of the heart, and such a surprise it was as none of my kin has valve trouble and in tests they run of just about everything, they found an atrophied right kidney so I have only one kidney, and did not know a thing about that as there was no pain, nor kidney problems what so ever.

Drs. say it was cause by a renal artery stopping up and slowly my kidney died, again no symptoms to alarm me to this fact, I am also taking calcitriol 0.25mcg daily. all this after my legs swelled up and I went to my cardiac Dr., and all this I found out in a period of a few weeks, and before I was only taking atenolol for an irregular heart beat or extra beat, anyway I have been overwhelmed at this change in my body, thinking I was somewhat healthy, so things can and do sneak up on you. I have developed a skin condition, that after several biopsies Drs. finally told me that it was "lichen planus" and as I had never heard of that, they said there is no cure of this non-contagious skin problem, but it is nothing to be desired as it itches some and breaks out and looks awful. Mostly on the lower legs so far… Dr, gave me some ointment that does not help much if at all, so guess I am stuck with this skin problem also. So in a space of a couple of months, my health problems escalated rapidly, I only hope there is a cure for this skin problem somewhere, as I have enough to contend with.

Right now am going to a vein Dr., as my legs swell too much and I have a lot of repeat test coming up with my cardiac physicians. So it's a never ending thing for someone who thought herself pretty healthy.

I am profoundly grateful for your vigilance and diligence! You are protecting people and saving lives! Please keep it up.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Dear HFG,

Comments like your keep us going. Sometimes it feel as if the mountain is very high and the boulder we are pushing very heavy doesn't budge. We are grateful that people such as yourself value what we do.

Was on Micardis, Coreg, nifedipine and clonidine for hypertension....could barely walk from weakness. B/P was still high.

Started more salt, meditation and slowly stopped Coreg, micardis and only half of Clonidine. B/P now down in teens....and I'm a cardiac nurse.

Feel much better....we are over medicating our patients....lifestyles MUST change.

Why are you taking calcitriol? This is 125 hydroxyl Vitamin D in hormone amounts and is used to treat hypoparathyroidism. I know because this is why I take it, my glands were destroyed during an operation to remove my thyroids because of cancer. OTC vitamin D3 is what you want to bring up your Vitamin D, 25, levels.

All these diuretics and not enough potassium? Your body is retaining fluids in defense. Wear compression stockings, always, and your legs will not swell. Get the 20/30 strength; I buy mine from e-bay. Average price is going up to about $30; but the list price is over 100. Put them on first thing in the morning, take them off last thing at night. During the day, try to elevate your feet as much as possible. Uncomfortable? You will get used to them, took me a while, but I have been wearing them for 10 years now - and no more furosemide. You will feel better again if you can get rid of some of these meds. However, be sure to work with your doctors.

Try lymphadema massage, the cancer center at a local hospital can give you some leads as to therapists. Non drug ways are best, they have no side effects. I have been studying this for going onto 30 years, still have so much to learn. I take a slew of supplements, come from 2 parents with heart disease and a sister who had one, fatal, heart attack when she was 68. I am now 75, just had an angiogram and all is well. At least with my heart. I won't go into all the medical errors that have left me with many conditions.

I hope this helps.

Bless you Dr. Plotkin!! I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia at 21 by a neurosurgeon after three "fainting spells" where I found myself unable to speak or move and thought I was dying. Luckily I almost had a "spell" in front of my boss, working overtime, averted by an apple from his desk.

What a relief to know I was not dying or going insane. Since then I have had to be my own doctor. Not only did I have to learn what food I needed, it turns out that I needed nutritional supplements too. Today I went to an endocrinologist for help in finding a diuretic for my slightly high blood pressure that would not raise my blood sugar, as most of them do.

He dismissed me, saying he could not help me, as he did not treat blood pressure; he could only offer me a device for sticking my finger and determining my blood sugar, as if I were a diabetic!

I have spent my entire life NOT being a diabetic. My disorder, and my two (out of three)sons are treated with good food, fresh or frozen, almost no sugar used, vitamin and mineral supplements.

Are you serious?

I've been on Benicar for several years, and due to lifestyle changes, better diet and exercise I feel I could probably maintain a safe bp without it. Can anyone offer advice on how to taper off these meds without dangerous side effects? I've realized early on that these drugs merely suppress the symptoms of your disease, and you still have hypertension. And I've never been convinced that my bp was high enough to warrant medication. Seems to be standard issue for a lot of physicians when you reach 50. Any advice appreciated. I'm 64 now and fairly active, and exercise daily, and have lost about 30 lbs in the past year.

Good for you Jim! You have a better chance of enjoying a healthy old, and somewhat old, age now.

As to the pills: weaning off slowly from any medication is essential for two reasons: you want to avoid a rebound effect, thereby increasing your bp, and you want to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

I would suggest giving this process about four months, depending on any symptoms, of course.

You could find out if Benicar comes in a lower dosage and try taking this lowered dosage for one day a week, at the start. At the end of 7 weeks, if all has gone well, you can try skipping a dose one day a week. Always, always, maintaining your healthy life style. When you are ready to skip the next pill, do it further along in the week. The same goes for going to a lesser dose. For instance: first change on Monday, second on Wed, third on Friday, fourth on Sunday, fifth on Tuesday, sixth on Sat and the final pill on Thursday. Skipping around so as not to lose a dose two days in a row, until you run out of days that allow that. Journaling will help.

And, if I may make another suggestion: look into some mind-body work that you can do at home. The more physical ways are with tai chi or yoga, or perhaps some martial arts disciplines, the other is meditation. Not sitting and going OHM, but mindful meditations of which there are many. These modalities have many health benefits, including lowered bp.

Good luck to you! I hope this helps.

I have been on Diovan 320mg. for at least 10 yrs.
6 mo.ago the dr. Took me off of the diuretic pill (12.5) due to low sodium level 130. So for the only thing I experienced is being dizzy for awhile after I take the diovan. I just turned 80 and have had breast cancer and colon cancer.
After reading the articles I am now concerned about staying on diovan,the nlu presc. Drug I take beside omeprazole.

Would like your comment

Helen, thanks for the sound and valuable advice. If this goes well I could be off these meds by years end. Greatly appreciated.

I'm 38 yrs old have suffered asthma most of my life and will often get chest infections (wheezy cough with lots of phelgm). I have had high bp for about 7rys initially started with 75mg of irbesartan and 3 months ago they upped it to 150mg because my bp is still around 140/97 and now the dr wants to double it again..!!

I have started to eat dark organic chocolate and have always regularly consumed organic garlic, I have also heard that asthma inhalers effect your bp and vice versa!!! really don't want bp meds doubled again.. any suggestion plz I am extremely worried and at wits end......

Bazam, too young to be so burdened, I am sorry that this epidemic has resulted in so many people struggling with asthma well beyond childhood and blame it on pollution. I would suggest cleaning up your life as much as possible: drink only filtered water, clean food, a good diet with a lot of plant material and as little animal as possible, and whatever other information you can find on the net dealing with asthma. There are supplements that may help, such as vitamin C to bowel tolerance. If you go to a reputable site for supplements, as well as selling, many contain health articles which may provide you with useful information. You can get a guide to lowering bp here on this site, for instance. I buy my vitamins from Swanson's Vitamins, iherb, and when I can afford it from the Life Extension Foundation.

Remember, I am not a health professional, just an intelligent woman who speaks from many years of my own experiences trying to better my health (too little, too late, but giving up is worse) after many problems from doctor errors.

I would also suggest researching mind/body work, such as guided meditations. My personal favorite for information is Dr. Bernie Siegel.

Several ARB's are the best prevention drugs for migraines (no FDA approval for migraine prevention, only small studies.) There are minimal side effects from ARB's and for many patients these drugs are life changing. Topamax prevents migraines but is complicated - bedtime dosing causes memory loss through sleep cycle disturbance - studies of which have been avoided by the manufacturer.

The FDA has become a tool of industry. Restructuring the FDA to insulate the agency from industry money and to focus on safety in medications would be a first step. Another agency needs to be formed for food safety( which the FDA has failed at as well.)

I would not like to see ARB's pulled off the market even if a small number of patients risked cancer. In addition to migraine prevention, and prevention of renal failure in diabetics, some patients with complicated hypertension and renal problems need ARB's to prevent renal failure and dialysis. It may be better not to study Americans for cancer risk as there may be other populations less contaminated with mutagenic fats and plastics which confound studies here.

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