FDA: ARBs don't increase cancer risk

Good news for those who take angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for their high blood pressure. The FDA announced Thursday that taking a member of this group of drugs, which includes Benicar (olmesartan), Cozaar (losartan) and Diovan (valsartan), doesn't raise the risk of developing cancer.

Following the release last July of a study suggesting ARBs carry an increased risk of cancer, the FDA decided to follow up on that research with its own review. The agency evaluated 31 randomized clinical trials with data from more than 155,000 patients that compared subjects taking an ARB with those not on these drugs. The result was no increased risk for those taking ARBs.

The original study was a meta-analysis that combined cancer-related data from several clinical trials; researchers found "a small increased risk" of new cancers in patients who used ARBs. The studies weren't designed to assess the cancer risk of these drugs. Furthermore, the ARB data mostly came from patients taking Boehringer-Ingelheim's Micardis, rather than a broad spectrum of drugs in that class. 

- see the FDA's release