Learn which high blood pressure medications raise pancreatic cancer risk by 66% in women
Baylor College of Medicine study highlights risk of short-acting calcium channel blockers
Somewhere along the way, I was introduced to the concept of the law of unintended consequences. I am sure you have heard of it, too. When it comes to medical and prescription drug malpractice, I recently heard someone put it like this: today’s miracle drug is tomorrow’s class-action lawsuit.
Have you ever wondered why that is the case?
There is a natural tension among drug manufacturers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), consumers, and how much evidence should be required before a new drug is allowed to go on the market. Of course, drug manufacturers want to reap profits from their investments as quickly as possible and favor a quick regulatory approval process. Patients who have life-threatening diagnoses that cannot be treated successfully with current medications want to see new drugs go to market to give them hope.
Based on my experience as a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I believe that society as a whole is better served by a careful, methodical drug approval process that fully considers the law of unintended consequences. In other words, when the FDA allows drugs to go to market too quickly, they may not have been fully vetted and studied and, thus, can cause new and sometimes worse medical problems.
For example, new medical research from Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine and the Women’s Health Initiative found that some of the prescription medication prescribed for some women to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) increases their risk of developing pancreatic cancer in comparison to those patients using anti-hypertension medications.
The nationwide study included over 160,000 middle-aged and older women who were taking a short-acting calcium channel blocker for more than three years. Examples of this type of high blood pressure medication include nifedipine (Adalat and Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), isradipine (DynaCirc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, and Dilacor), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, and Verelan).
The research concluded that women in the study who ever used a short-acting version of these drugs had a 66% increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer, in comparison with women who were prescribed anti-hypertensive medications including beta blockers, diuretics, or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
While hearing the diagnosis of any type of cancer is dreaded, pancreatic cancer is particularly deadly. It is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in America and is most often diagnosed once it has reached advanced stages, when it is difficult to treat.
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Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. In 2017, H Texas magazine named him one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also in 2017, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.
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