FDA: ARBs do not pose increased cancer risk

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A class of drugs commonly used to control blood pressure does not increase patients’ risk of developing cancer, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said Thursday that a review of 31 studies of angiotensin receptor blockers — a class that includes such drugs as Novartis’ Diovan (valsartan) and AstraZeneca’s Atacand (candesartan) — announced in July 2010 did not show an increased cancer risk associated with the drugs. The FDA began the review after the publication of a study that found a small, increased risk.

“The FDA has completed its review of controlled trial data on more than 155,000 patients randomized to ARBs or other treatments — the largest evaluation of such data to date — and finds no evidence of an increased risk of cancer in patients who take an ARB,” FDA Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs deputy director Ross Southworth said.