JUL 08, 2019 11:21 AM PDT

Blood Pressure Medication May Increase Risk for Bowel Condition

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to early-stage research, calcium-channel blocker, which is certain type of a blood pressure lowering drug, may increase the risk of a bowel condition known as diverticulosis. The condition primarily affects older adults but results in small bulges that line the intestine—a condition that primarily affects older adults and can lead to emergency medical treatment if the bulges burst or become inflamed.

Learn more about the condition:

The research investigated genes that mimicked the efficacy and side-effects of three common blood pressure drugs: ACE-inhibitors, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. Findings were published in the journal Circulation and describe the identification of proteins targeted by the drugs that reduce blood pressure. Ultimately, the study identified genetic variants for these proteins using data from an estimated 750,000 people. The genetic variants were associated with either an increase or decrease in the risk of other diseases. However, some of these genetic variants are advantageous such as coding for proteins that lower blood pressure and thus lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr. Joanna Tzoulaki, senior author of study states, "The study of genetic variants that mimic the effect of drugs is evolving as a powerful concept to help prioritize clinical trials and design clinical trials more likely to be successful."

Using data retrieved from the UK biobank study on 900 different diseases along with comparative analysis, researchers found that certain genetic variants are related to the effects of a calcium channel blocker from the non-dihydropyridine class and was implicated in the increased risk of diverticulosis.

Credit: Imperial College London

"This is the first time that this class of blood pressure drug has been associated with diverticulosis. We're not sure of the underlying mechanism -- although it may relate to effects on the function of intestine muscles, which perform contractions to transport food through the gut,” stated Dr. Dpeneder Gill, the co-lead author of the study.

Imperial College London: The researchers analyzed three main classes of blood pressure medications

Results and implications call for further investigation but should not alter current prescription guidelines until further evidence is placed. "These findings should not change clinical practice, but instead should act as a catalyst for further research,” says Dr. Gill

Source: Imperial College London

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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