Commonly used blood pressure meds may affect outcomes on COVID-19

Penn Medicine launches an international trial to study whether the medications are beneficial or harmful in the treatment of hospitalized patients.

A new trial led by the Perelman School of Medicine will evaluate whether the use of medications to treat high blood pressure affect outcomes among patients who are prescribed the medication and hospitalized with COVID-19. As part of the multi-center, international trial called REPLACE COVID, investigators will examine whether ACE inhibitors (ACEI) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)—two classes of medications to treat high blood pressure—help to mitigate complications or lead to more severe symptoms and worse outcomes. The study is enrolling patients now

closeup of prescription pills on a surface beside a stethoscope and blood pressure gauge

Through the trial, investigators will randomly assign patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 to either stop or continue taking their prescribed medication. The team will closely monitor the patients to evaluate the effect of temporarily stopping the therapy. Julio A. Chirinos, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine, and Jordana B. Cohen, an assistant professor in the division of Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension, are the study’s co-principal investigators. 

“While some data suggests patients with underlying health conditions, like heart disease and high blood pressure, have a higher risk of developing a more severe form of COVID-19, we don’t know whether ACE inhibitors or ARBs are beneficial or harmful,” Chirinos says. “There’s an urgent need to understand how these medications may alter the disease course so we can better guide our treatment for patients who are prescribed these therapies and infected with COVID-19.”

This article is by Mike Iorfino. Read more at Penn Medicine News.