There’s a reason I warn my patients to steer clear of beta blockers and calcium channel blockers for blood pressure control. Quite a few of them, in fact.
Beta blockers can cause breathing problems and weight gain. Calcium channel blockers have been linked to breast cancer. As with the rest of my most despised drugs, the list of adverse effects goes on. But one recent addition really caught my attention.
A new study appeared in the journal Hypertension this past fall. UK researchers looked at data from nearly 150,000 patients between the ages of 40 and 80. All of the subjects had been taking blood pressure meds—either beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, or diuretics—for at least 90 days.
Researchers then compared this data with data from nearly 112,000 patients not taking these blood pressure drugs. And their findings over the course of five years were striking.
Patients taking beta blockers an calcium channel blockers were twice as likely to be hospitalized for mood disorders, like major depression or bipolar disorder—even after accounting for other risk factors. (And it’s especially important to note that these patients had no history of previous psychiatric hospitalizations, either.)
A significant and deeply troubling association, to say the least. But sadly, the only thing that surprises me about this link between blood pressure drugs and psychiatric emergencies is that it took so long to discover it.
Look, high blood pressure is lethal—no one is arguing that it shouldn’t be treated. But on the rare occasion when I do write prescriptions for hypertension, I always start with one of the angiotensin receptor blockers (or ARBs), which I’ve found to be safest and best tolerated of the lot. (An observation that this study also noted.)
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, though, medication is never my first choice for blood pressure control.
I revisited my protocol for drug-free hypertension management in the November issue. So in case you missed it, I urge you to go back and read that article now. You can find it by visiting www.drpescatore.com and logging into the Subscriber area with your username and password.
And for a complete rundown of all my recommendations for keeping your heart healthy naturally, check out my special report The World’s Easiest Heart Disease Cure. You can order a copy by clicking here or by calling 888-884-7768 and asking for code GOV1T1AA.