Don’t stop taking prescribed heart medications

The Heart Foundation recommends that health professionals continue the routine use of ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) and ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) in the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, secondary prevention of acute coronary syndrome and other chronic conditions.

“The suggested link between COVID-19 and ARBs and ACE inhibitors is based on the observation that these antihypertensives increase levels of the ACE2 enzyme in the body, the same enzyme that the SARS coronavirus uses to infect the body,” says Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings.

“We want to highlight that at this stage, there is no clinical data from people infected with the COVID-19 virus to confirm this theory.”

Professor Jennings says that there is a lack of clinical evidence and that patients should continue to take all their medications, including ARBs or ACE inhibitors, as prescribed by their doctor.

“There is the potential for serious harm if people stop taking their ARB and ACE inhibitor medications. These medications have demonstrated substantial benefits in reducing risk of death, cardiovascular events and hospitalisations in the secondary prevention of acute coronary syndromes and the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, and other chronic conditions.”

Further research between COVID-19 and specific medicines are ongoing.