Urgent warning over popular blood pressure drugs

Pop the pills... gulp some water... swallow hard... then repeat daily.

Blood pressure meds are used by so many people so often that most folks never even pause to question their safety.

But many of the drugs are anything but safe -- and a leading consumer advocate group says that one drug in particular is so dangerous that it's calling for a ban!

Public Citizen is urging the FDA to pull a drug called olmesartan medoxomil, sold under the brand names Azor, Benicar, and Tribenzor, as well as generic versions.

It comes with all the usual side effects you'd expect, such as headaches, stomachaches, and dizziness, which can often lead to a fall in patients who take the drug (especially older folks).

But that's not why Public Citizen wants it banned.

The organization says that this drug comes with a frightening extra... a risk so big that it goes above and beyond the typical side effects of other BP meds.

They said it can cause sprue-like enteropathy.

"Sprue" is another name for celiac disease, and what makes it "sprue-like" is that this condition leads to intense, life-stopping stomach pain, along with severe and chronic diarrhea and vomiting.

If you have celiac, the answer is in avoiding gluten.

But in this case, the sprue-like enteropathy caused by the drug can't be stopped by avoiding gluten.

It keeps eating away at you, leading to weight loss as your body can no longer fully digest food, as well as what Public Citizen called "profound malnutrition" from the inability to absorb vitamins.

Some patients require hospitalization. Sprue-like enteropathy can even be deadly.

As the good folks at Public Citizen note, the drug already has a "weak warning" over this risk on the label. But with more than 150 cases of sprue-like enteropathy documented, they want stronger action.

They don't want a warning. Given that there are other ways to lower blood pressure just as effectively that come without this level of risk, they want the drug pulled off the market for good.

This shouldn't be controversial. This is just common sense!

That's not just true for this med. Nearly all blood pressure drugs have problems, and even when they work... even when they bring your BP down without causing side effects... they don't always prevent heart attack and stroke.

I say it's time to forget hunting for a "safer" med and get back to basics.

In many cases, for example, a little weight loss will cut your BP. If you still need some help, boost your intake of the essential minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium through both diet and supplements.

Coenzyme Q10, hawthorn berry, and hibiscus can also help lower blood pressure without the risks of meds.

For some one-on-one help targeted to your needs, make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in the San Diego area.

Not in Southern California? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!