With all the modern day diseases and disorders, there is one that has been on the rise over the last few decades. As a result of poor eating, lack of exercise, or maybe just genetics, millions of people battle high blood pressure, or hypertension every single day. The most common treatment for hypertension is a common drug known as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). It is so common that it is used more than any other drug worldwide.
So what happens when one of the side effects of HCTZ, this common treatment for hypertension, leads to an increase in skin cancer? Researchers have recently discovered that HCTZ may actually cause an increase in skin cancer for those who use the medicine. Anton Pottegård lead a group of researchers at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and found that users of the drug HCTZ showed an increase of 11 percent in lip cancer.
Pottegård and his team of researchers took samples of patients in over 1.5 million cases who were using the drug HCTZ and found that nearly 80,000 of those developed non-melanoma skin cancer. What the research revealed is that the use of HCTZ increased the damage caused by UV rays to the skin.
So what happens when you have so many retirees with high blood pressure living in sunny locations like Florida? This new discovery shows a recipe for disaster if changes are not made. The research and study does not indicate that everyone who uses HCTZ needs to change drugs for hypertension, however, they do recommend that those susceptible to cancer or have any skin disorders may want to consider an alternative. For those who are not affected by the potential side effect of skin cancer, the use of HCTZ is a very good treatment for hypertension.
Although many people may not be affected by the harmful side effects, the research does conclude that more work should be done to find an alternative to HCTZ, as this clearly has some very damaging effects on at least 11 percent of its users. A larger number of medicines tend to have different side effects, and each person may be affected differently. Though the research has yielded the astonishing findings, does the research group have a social responsibility to help find an alternative, or help find markers for those most susceptible to be exposed to the risk of skin cancer?