If you have a higher risk of getting skin cancer, you want to see a board-certified dermatologist. Your dermatologist will tell you how often you should return for exams. Today, there are several blood pressure medications that do not contain hydrochlorothiazide. ™ Together, we’re raising funds to reduce the incidence and mortality rates of skin cancer.
Research from New Hampshire confirms this link, as well as an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma, a different type of skin cancer, for people taking the antibiotic tetracycline. The risk is highest for people who tend to burn rather than tan when exposed to sunshine. A study suggests that hydrochlorothiazide as well as other antihypertensive medications may increase the risk of lip cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept. 10, 2012).
A pharmacoepidemiologist, Dr. Daniels studies the use and effects of drugs in specific population groups. “We found increased risk for developing malignant melanoma and squamous cell cancer of the lip with hydrochlorothiazide use,” says Dr Benjamin Daniels, lead author of the study and research fellow at UNSW Medicine’s Centre for Big Data Research in Health . A pharmacoepidemiologist, Dr Daniels studies the use and effects of drugs in specific population groups.
The more common non-melanoma skin cancers start in basal and squamous cells of the skin. The study authors also advised periodic monitoring for skin cancer to reduce the risk in patients taking thiazide diuretics. In 2019, a safety review by Health Canada concluded that the prolonged use of hydrochlorothiazide may be associated with a risk of non-melanoma skin cancer that is at least four times the risk of not using hydrochlorothiazide.
It had already been established that hydrochlorothiazide caused the skin to become more vulnerable to UV ray damage, but it was previously unknown that long-term usage of this hypertension medication resulted in such a large increase in skin cancer risk. The study was based on approximately 80,000 skin cancer cases and revealed that skin cancer risk is as much as seven times greater for people using hydrochlorothiazide containing blood pressure medication. Are you among the millions of people who take hydrochlorothiazide to treat high blood pressure?
Keep in mind, though, that studies on the impact of such chemicals on human health are limited so minimizing exposure to them in general is a good idea. “You should not interrupt your treatment without first consulting your doctor. However, if you use hydrochlorothiazide at present, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if it is possible to choose a different medicine,” says Anton Pottegård. We’re empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.
Ketoprofen is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) prescribed to relieve the pain of arthritis, bursitis and similar problems. Some people taking this medication end up with a rash on sun-exposed skin (Loh & Cohen, Indian Journal of Medical Research, Dec. 2016). Octocrylene, found in some sunscreens, may make this rash worse. “Hypertension is a condition that needs to be carefully managed,” he said.
National Cancer Institute has more information on skin cancer. Most people are familiar with common sun-protection advice, from wearing and reapplying sunscreen to putting on a hat. An important way for you and your doctor to know if your treatment is working is to monitor your blood pressure at home.
In 2019, Health Canada issued a safety review of Hydrochlorothiazide, a thiazide diuretic, that found the drug can make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation. It also found that patients taking the drug for more than three years could have four times the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. Phototoxicity induced by medication can cause cellular damage to the skin, increasing the sun’s carcinogenic potential, the study authors noted in the report published April 12 in the CMAJ. “Skin cancer is an incredibly important disease to take care of,” he noted. “However, it’s not the only one.” He pointed out that heart disease and high blood pressure are silent killers that cause a lot of death in the United States. “So, I think the last thing we would want to see would be people considering stopping their medications,” Strasswimmer said.
Examining your skin for signs of skin cancer as often as your dermatologist recommends. Many skin cancers are found when people examine their own skin and notice that something has changed. This helps to find skin cancer early when it’s most treatable. For this reason, dermatologists encourage everyone to learn how to do a skin self-exam. Of the 87,725 patients who were prescribed a thiazide, researchers found that patients exposed to more than 7.5 annual doses of the drug had a 53 per cent higher rate of advanced non-melanoma cancer and a 60 per cent higher rate of melanoma.
Understand that only one type of blood pressure medication has been linked to an increased risk of developing skin cancer. In studies, only the blood pressure medications that contain hydrochlorothiazide have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer. Researchers speculate this happens because hydrochlorothiazide makes the skin more sensitive to the sun.
Once again, Danish researchers set their sights on anti-hypertensive medicine containing hydrochlorothiazide, in relation to an increased risk for skin cancer. While news that blood pressure medicine may increase your risk of developing skin cancer is concerning, it is important to note that more research is needed before experts can draw any firm prescribing changes for HCTZ based on these findings. Senior study author, Anton Pottegård, even cautions that patients taking hydrochlorothiazide should not stop without first seeing a doctor.