A commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug can fight PTSD: a study reveals that traumatized people are less afraid after taking controversial treatment of hypertension
- Losartan, a medicine that helps people sweat less in the face of fear
- The drug blocks a hormone that causes hypertension and stress
- But the same drug has been found to be contaminated by cancerous chemicals
Alexandra Thompson Senior Health Reporter for Mailonline
A commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug may help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, according to research.
One study found that losartan, an antihypertensive drug, often known by its brand name Cozaar, reduces the impact of fear on the population.
Losartan blocks the angiotensin hormone, which narrows the blood vessels and can also be involved in the body's response to "fight or flight" in case of stress.
Although the early days, researchers are optimistic, losartan could alleviate the symptoms of PTSD when it is associated with other treatments.
The losartan however sparked controversy last month when US regulators revealed that it was part of a host of blood pressure medications that may have been contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals.
A commonly prescribed antihypertensive drug can help treat PTSD, according to research (stock)
The research was conducted by the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and led by Dr. Benjamin Becker, the key laboratory for neuroinformation.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Victims can relive the trauma through nightmares or flashbacks.
Its prevalence among the British public is not clear, but it would have affected 44.7 million Americans, or about 14% of the population, according to PTSD United.
Statistics from the UK Department of Defense reveal that 307 members of the British Defense Force had made an initial assessment of the state in 2016/17.
A study published a few years ago found that people with severe trauma are less likely to suffer from PTSD if they take an antihypertensive drug that blocks angiotensin – but the link between the two n & # 39; Is not clear.
High blood pressure affects one in four adults in the United Kingdom and the United States and rarely causes symptoms.
LOSARTAN CONTAINS CHEMICALS CAUSING CANCER
At least two million people worldwide have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals contaminating blood pressure-lowering drugs made in China, the FDA said last month.
More than one million people affected are in the United States, which is heavily dependent on China for its pharmaceutical ingredients.
Last summer, many medications widely prescribed for the treatment of heart failure and hypertension, including valsartan, losartan, and irbesartan, had dangerously high levels of carcinogens, NDEA and NDMA, well above the legal limit in the United States.
This caused a global recall that lasted seven months – and the FDA only recently released details on how this happened and how much was affected.
The agency initially minimized the exposure, insisting that, despite the discovery of carcinogen levels above the legal limit, the risk of developing cancer was not high compared to byproducts. cancer that appear when you grill meat.
However, health policy experts believe that the situation is much more worrying than what regulators are willing to concede – for the millions of people at risk and exposing America's imbalanced relationship with the China.
However, if left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and even dementia.
Scientists have also shown that mice showed fewer signs of fear, such as squeaks, when given losartan.
To see if the same goes for humans, Chinese researchers trained 59 men to develop a slight fear of colored squares by giving them a slight electric shock each time they saw one.
Electrodes on the participants' skin then revealed that they were beginning to sweat whenever they saw a colored square, reported the New Scientist.
The men then received losartan or placebo.
After 90 minutes, they were shown the same place, but without electric shock, in order to get them to "unlearn" their fear.
The results revealed that those who took losartan had stopped sweating earlier when they had seen the place – sign that they were less panicked – than those who had received a sugar pill.
Although the discomfort around a colored square is not as severe as PTSD, the results are encouraging, according to Dr. Paul Marvar, assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology at George Washington University, DC.
Dr. Marvar – who has not participated in the Chinese study – is studying the effectiveness of losartan in patients with PTSD, taken for ten weeks.
Beta blockers, which usually result in memory loss as a side effect, are another class of antihypertensive drugs.
It has been suggested to give this medicine to people after a traumatic event could prevent the formation of painful memories.
However, not all trauma patients develop PTSD and, as a result, many patients would be treated unnecessarily, Dr. Marvar said.
Other side effects of beta-blockers may include headache, dizziness, and fatigue.