Coronavirus: Important information for hypertension patients

Coronavirus: Important information for hypertension patients

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Fear of corona: do not take antihypertensive drugs lightly

The number of coronavirus infections continues to rise. It is known that there is a risk of serious illness, particularly in older people and those with certain previous illnesses. There are also indications that taking some medications such as blood pressure lowerers could lead to more problematic courses. Nevertheless, it is strongly advised not to discontinue such medicinal products lightly.

Many patients are unsettled by current speculations: lowering blood pressure could make them more susceptible to coronavirus infections or lead to more severe COVID-19 diseases. Based on the current state of knowledge, the conclusion to stop taking medication is unfounded. This is what the German High Pressure League points out in a current announcement.

Increased risk of COVID-19

The French Minister of Health recently pointed out that taking anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, cortisone, ...) could be a factor in the worsening of the coronavirus infection.

In his statement, he referred to an article that appeared a few days ago in the renowned science magazine "The Lancet" and found an increased risk of COVID-19 in diabetes.

According to the researchers, people with heart diseases, high blood pressure or diabetes who are treated with ACE2-increasing drugs are also at higher risk of serious COVID-19 infections.

Stopping blood pressure lowering leads to high health risks

However, the German Hypertension League (DHL) warns against simply stopping such drugs.

On the one hand, there are data that antihypertensives could even protect against lung failure, and on the other hand, it should not be underestimated that stopping such drugs leads to high health risks.

DHL advises patients to exercise prudence. "The current data situation does not justify stopping medication," says Professor Florian Limbourg, Hanover, board member of the German High Pressure League DHL®.

Blood pressure hormone formation is blocked

The release explains that the SARS-CoV2 virus uses the enzyme ACE2 to enter the cells. This is produced by cells of the lungs, where it is presented on the cell surface and can serve as an entry point for the pathogen.

However, ACE2 is also produced in soluble form and then floats as a bait in the blood, which significantly suppresses the virus infection of cells. More ACE2 could therefore have positive or negative effects in the context of a virus infection.

So how do blood pressure medications come into play? ACE2 breaks down blood pressure hormones of the renin-angiotensin system, which are produced by the related enzyme ACE.

Common blood pressure lowerers, such as ACE inhibitors and the so-called sartans, block blood pressure hormone formation or effects, which has led to a slight increase in ACE2 in studies in rats and one study in humans.

Protective effect

While the significance for the potential susceptibility to infections for SARS-CoV2 is completely unclear according to DHL, there are, however, very convincing data for a protective effect by blocking the renin-angiotensin system in the case of severe lung failure, the so-called ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome ").

Several papers published in the renowned journal “Nature” showed very clearly that both an increase in ACE2 and the blockade of ACE, as achieved, for example, by lowering blood pressure, have a positive effect on the course of ARDS.

In the context of pneumonia, the inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system develops beneficial effects.

Medicines could save lives

“The possible harmful influence of antihypertensive drugs on susceptibility to viruses is extremely speculative. On the other hand, lowering blood pressure could save lives in severe cases, ”explains the expert. "So the current state of knowledge in no way justifies stopping blood pressure lowering."

Above all, Limbourg warns against stopping or reducing the dose without prior consultation with the doctor. Cardiovascular high-risk patients in particular may experience serious illnesses such as heart attacks or strokes.

"This would throw the child out with the bath".

Critical handling of (incorrect) information

The German High Pressure League DHL® advises patients to exercise prudence and to deal critically with (incorrect) information in the media and social media.

The authorities (Robert Koch Institute, Federal Ministry of Health and public health offices) and the medical associations provide valid, scientifically stable information.

If you are very unsure, you should speak to your doctor and seek advice. The European Society of Hypertension (ESH) also provides up-to-date information on Corona for people with high blood pressure on its website. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • German high pressure league: Don't take blood pressure medication lightly for fear of Corona !, (accessed: March 16, 2020), German high pressure league
  • Lei Fang, George Karakiulakis, Michael Roth: Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection ?; in: The Lancet, (published: March 11, 2020), The Lancet
  • European Society of Hypertension: ESH Statement on COVID-19 (access: March 16, 2020), European Society of Hypertension

Video: Coronavirus Pandemic Update 66: ACE-Inhibitors and ARBs - Hypertension Medications with COVID-19 (October 2022).