Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Should I be worried about my blood pressure medication causing cancer?

Q. I heard about a study that found that ARBs can cause cancer. I am taking one, Cozaar, because of high blood pressure. Should I stop taking it?

A. ARB stands for angiotensin-receptor blocker, a class of medications that is used to control high blood pressure, treat heart failure, and prevent kidney disease in people with diabetes or high blood pressure. ARBs are often prescribed when an ACE inhibitor isn't effective, or the side effects are intolerable. The generic name for Cozaar is losartan; the generic names for ARBs end in –sartan: candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro), and so on.

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