ACE inhibitors and related drugs known as angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARAs) are among the most frequently prescribed medicines in UK clinical practice, used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney problems. There have been concerns about a link between these drugs and kidney function but for the first time researchers have managed to assess the extent of this connection.
A team led by Dr Rupert Payne, The Primary Care Unit, and Dr Laurie Tomlinson, Translational Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology, compared admission rates for acute kidney injury to English hospitals with prescribing rates of ACE inhibitors and ARAs. The results show a clear association between the increase in prescriptions and the increase in hospital admissions, and suggest that one in seven of the additional cases of acute kidney injury could be due to increased prescriptions for these drugs.
Says Dr Payne, “This work gives us an opportunity to estimate the size of the problem, and make clinicians and patients more aware of the importance of using these drugs in accordance with current clinical guidelines. As both a GP and clinical pharmacologist, it also highlights to me the importance of improving our understanding of the risks and benefits of drugs more generally in the real world of clinical practice, away from the artificial setting of clinical trials.”
The full article is available at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078465
Dr Payne also writes a blog, which you can access here http://www.cchsr.iph.cam.ac.uk/1139