TORONTO – Health Canada says that prolonged use of medicines commonly used for high blood pressure can increase the risk of human non-melanoma skin cancer.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic or water tablet that is also designed to reduce fluid retention associated with heart failure and some kidney and liver problems.
The Canadian Safety Review found that the use of medication can make skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and tanning equipment.
A review of research evidence shows that patients taking medication for more than three years may be at least four times more likely to have cancer of non-melanoma skin.
However, Health Canada says that due to lack of research, such as lack of patient data on sun exposure and severity, there is uncertainty about the results found.
However, for people taking hydrochlorothiazide, it is advisable to limit UV exposure and seek medical attention if they detect new skin lesions or changes in the molars.
The Federal Department says doctors should consider alternative medicines for patients at high risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, including those with a fair skin or a personal or family history of skin cancer.