Question & Answer

Does taking blood pressure medication make the symptoms of COVID-19 worse?

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  • Commonly used medications to treat high blood pressure include Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs). Claims have been circulated on social media linking the use of ACEi and ARBs to an increase in the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
  • There is currently no evidence linking the use of blood pressure medication such as ACEi and ARBs with worsening symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Systematic reviews have found no conclusive evidence to suggest blood pressure medication makes the symptoms of COVID-19 worse, and also found no association with risk of COVID-19 infection. These reviews recommend that more research is needed in this area.
  • The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) ‘strongly recommends’ that individuals who are currently taking ACEi or ARBs should continue to do so. The ESC further states that there is no clear evidence to suggest that blood pressure treatment should stop due to COVID-19.
  • CROI, the Irish heart and stroke charity, advises that individuals continue to take their usual blood pressure medication in order to better protect their hearts against complications of COVID-19 if they become infected with the virus.
  • The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) states that people with high blood pressure may be at a ‘higher risk of serious illness’ if COVID-19 is contracted, the HSE advises those with high blood pressure to continue taking medication and to follow the advice for people who may be at a higher risk  from COVID-19’
  • To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, please continue to follow public health advice to maintain social distancing and wash your hands properly and often.

Things to Remember

Reviewers

  • Lead Researcher: Dr Hannah Delaney, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, NUI Galway & Trinity College Dublin.
  • Reviewed by: Elaine Finucane, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, School of nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway.
  • Evidence Advisor: Dr Frank Moriarty,  Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
  • Evidence Advisor: Casey Donaghey, PPI Ignite, NUI Galway
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Contributor, The Irish Times