Posted by William on June 29, 2011
Ever since 1996, when a much-publicized report suggested that calcium channel blockers might increase cancer risk, researchers have been scrutinizing these drugs more closely. Although one study found a similar trend, most studies have failed to uphold the link between cancer and calcium channel blockers, which are widely used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.
A new report, in the May 1 American Journal of Cardiology, offers more reassurance. As part of a study looking at the benefits of long-term treatment with the calcium channel blocker verapamil (Isoptin, Calan) in 1,755 heart attack survivors, researchers also noted new cancer cases.
The participants took verapamil or a placebo for an average of 15 months and were followed for six to eight years afterward. At the end of the study, overall cancer rates were similar in both groups, with no evidence of an increased cancer risk in either group, compared with people of the same age and sex in the general population.
Researchers did find a slightly higher risk of respiratory cancers among women taking verapamil (five cases, versus two in the placebo group). But that finding is likely due to chance, or because more people in the verapamil group were smokers.