BP Meds & Lip, Skin Cancer
A recent study shows that if you're taking certain blood pressure medications, you need to be extra careful about sun protection. The drugs can make you "photosensitive" and thus more likely to sustain damage from UV rays. However, the researchers strongly emphasize that the risk of lip and skin cancers is very low and that stopping the medications is not advised. Instead, simple precautions such as"lip protector, sunscreen, large-brim hats, rash guard swim shirts, and avoiding times of the day when the sun is most intense" are recommended in an editor's note accompany the original article in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The medications implicated in the study about a slight risk of lip cancer are hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic known as HCTZ and the brand names Aquazide H, HydroDIURIL and Microzide); HCTZ combined with triamterene (known by the brand names Dyazide and Maxzide); the ACE inhibitor lisinopril (brand names Prinivil and Zestril); and the calcium channel blocker nifedipine (brand names Adalat, Nifediac, Cordipin, Nifedical, and Procardia).
However, a MedPage Today article by Randy Dotinga quotes lead author Dr. Gary Friedman, an adjunct investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California in Oakland, as saying that people should not stop taking their meds as result of this study. "They should be on the medication that's best for them," Friedman said. "It's really important to emphasize that this is a low-risk condition -- a rare cancer that's generally easily treated and not life-threatening."