These hypertension medications trigger thoughts of suicide

These hypertension medications trigger thoughts of suicide

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Increased suicide rate when taking certain high blood pressure medications

High blood pressure can have serious health consequences and many sufferers therefore take medication to regulate their blood pressure. However, the medicines used can have various side effects.

In a current study it became clear that the commonly prescribed angiotensin receptor blockers (sartans) significantly increase the risk of suicide compared to so-called ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) that can also be used.

Sartans are often prescribed for high blood pressure to prevent further damage to health from high blood pressure. However, there are various side effects, which, according to the current study by the research team led by Muhammad Mamdani from the University of Toronto, also include a significantly increased risk of suicide. The study results were published in the specialist magazine "JAMA".

Relationship to suicide risk examined

It has long been known that sartans can cause side effects such as dizziness, headache and flu-like symptoms. As part of the current study, the researchers have now investigated possible connections between the suicide of 964 people and the intake of high blood pressure medication. All subjects considered had died of suicide within 100 days of taking sartans or ACE inhibitors.

Suicide rate increased by 60 percent

“Compared to ACE inhibitors, exposure to angiotensin receptor blockers was associated with a higher risk of suicide,” the researchers report.

The probability of suicide was 60 percent higher when using the sartans than when using ACE inhibitors. Due to the different modes of action, it has already been speculated that sartans may be associated with a higher risk of suicide. This has now been confirmed, according to the research team.

Do not stop taking medication yourself

Since the use of sartans can be associated with an increased risk of suicide compared to ACE inhibitors, preference should be given to favoring the ACE inhibitors, particularly in patients with severe mental illnesses, according to the Canadian research group. An unauthorized removal of the sartans is expressly warned. This should only be done after consulting a doctor and carefully weighing up the benefits and risks. (fp)

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.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Mamdani, M .; Gomes, T .; Greaves, S .; et al .: Association Between Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers, and Suicide, in: JAMA, October 2019,

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