An international team of researchers have found that medications to treat high blood pressure do not affect outcomes among patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
The study, led by researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published today in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, is the first randomized controlled trial to show there is no risk for patients continuing these medications while hospitalized for COVID-19.
As part of the REPLACE COVID trial, investigators examined whether ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) — two classes of medications to treat high blood pressure — could help mitigate complications or lead to more severe symptoms. More than 49 million U.S. adults take medication to treat hypertension, and among those, about 83 percent (41 million) take an ACEI or ARB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early during the pandemic, a concern arose regarding the use of ACEIs or ARBs in the setting of COVID-19, since some studies had suggested that these medications could upregulate cellular receptors for the SARS-CoV-2 virus potentially aiding viral replication. However, it was also considered that some effects of these medications could be protective against the virus.