There is no shortage of drugs to treat high blood pressure.
Fourteen different classes of medications have been approved for hypertension. And within those classes are more than 110 drugs.1
So why would any doctor advise you to take one that not only works poorly, but also raises your risk for the deadliest type of cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It has a five-year survival rate of only 7%. That makes it the deadliest type of cancer.2
And now, new research shows that if you take one common class of blood pressure medication, your risk for pancreatic cancer goes up dramatically.3
The study followed 145,000 women. They were between 50 and 79 years old at the start of the study. Researchers monitored the subjects’ medication use between 1993 and 1998.
By 2014, more than 800 had developed pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that subjects taking a class of drugs called short-acting calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were at far higher risk than those who took a different hypertension medication.
Subjects taking short-acting CCBs for any length of time had a 66% greater risk of pancreatic cancer. If they used the drugs more than three years, their risk was 107% higher.4
The medications include:
- Short-acting nifedipine (brand names Procardia, Adalat CC)
- Nicardipine (Cardene IV)
- Diltiazem (Cardizem)
If you take one of these drugs, you shouldn’t panic.
The risk for pancreatic cancer among all Americans is 1.6%. So even doubling your risk by taking a short-acting CCB means your chances of getting the disease are still low.
Researcher Zhensheng Wang led the study. He’s a postdoctoral associate at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Short-acting CCBs are the “least effective” blood pressure drug available, Wang said. And that might be the root cause of their increased pancreatic cancer risk, he said.
Since people who take short-acting CCBs get poor blood pressure control from the medications, it puts them at higher risk of diabetes…And diabetes is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
Short-acting nifedipine is also linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Why Take Chances With a Dangerous Blood Pressure Drug?
There is no reason to take short-acting CCBs when there are better options. Many people find they can lower their blood pressure without drugs by using natural remedies.
3 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure
- Potassium. We recently told you about the importance of potassium to lower blood pressure. And we gave you the best food sources of the mineral. (Surprise: bananas are not one of them.) 5
- Saunas. Regular sauna use has been shown to cut high blood pressure risk in half. If you’re not used to saunas, you can start slow with five-to-10 minute sessions. Once you’re used to it, aim for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week. 6
- Grape seed extract. The seeds have powerful antioxidant properties that lower blood pressure. You can find grape seed extract supplements online and in health food stores.7
If you must take a drug to control your blood pressure, ask your doctor if a diuretic is right for you. They are “water pills” that reduce your blood pressure by flushing water from your system. They are an old class of drugs and are safer than other blood pressure medications.8
Editor’s Note: Something strange was happening to pilots training to fly F-16 fighter jets. The ones who went into the program with elevated blood pressure were coming out a few weeks later with normal, healthy readings.
They hadn’t taken any medications… Their diets hadn’t changed… And they hadn’t made any changes to their exercise regimens.