New research has found that medication for high blood pressure can help improve one’s chances of surviving COVID-19. Researchers from the University of East Anglia said such medications can help reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection.

The goal of the study was to see whether certain medications for high blood pressure could be linked with worse outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Dr. Vassilios Vassiliou of UEA’s Norwich Medical School revealed that while patients with cardiovascular diseases are at a particular risk of severe COVID-19 infection, there was concern at the start of the pandemic that certain medications for high blood pressure could lead to worse outcomes for COVID-19 patients.

“We wanted to find out what the impact of these medications is for people with COVID-19,” he said. “We therefore studied the outcomes for patients taking antihypertensives—looking particularly at what we call critical outcomes such as being admitted to intensive care or being put on a ventilator, and death,” he added.

The researchers conducted the study on 28,000 patients taking antihypertensives, a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. They also analyzed data from 19 studies related to COVID-19, as well as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) medications.

The study, which is the most comprehensive to date, involved comparing data from COVID-19 patients taking ACE or ARB with those who were not. The goal was to see whether they would experience critical events while receiving treatment for COVID-19.

“We found that a third of COVID-19 patients with high blood pressure and a quarter of patients overall were taking an ACEI/ARBs,” said Dr. Vassiliou. “This is likely due to the increasing risk of infection in patients with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and diabetes,” he added.

Dr. Vassiliou said the most important finding was that medications for hypertension do not necessarily increase the severity of COVID-19 or risk of death. In fact, he said the study showed that there was a significantly lower risk of death and critical outcomes among COVID-19 patients taking medications for high blood pressure.

“Our research provides substantial evidence to recommend continued use of these medications if the patients were taking them already,” he said.

COVID-19 positive Test result shows a patient is COVID-19 positive. Pixabay