Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 131 (3) 196-204 [2022-09-00; online 2022-07-06]
Hypertension is an important risk factor for severe outcomes in patients with COVID-19, and antihypertensive drugs may have a protective effect. However, the pandemic may have negatively impacted health care services for chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to assess initiations of antihypertensive medicines in patients infected by COVID-19. A cohort study including all Swedish residents 20-80 years old with a COVID-19 positive test compared with an unexposed group without COVID-19 matched for age, sex, and index date (date of confirmed COVID-19). Data were collected within SCIFI-PEARL, a study including linked data on COVID tests, hospital diagnoses, dispensed prescriptions, and socioeconomic data from Swedish national registers. Initiations of different antihypertensive drugs were studied from March 2020 until October 2020. Associations between COVID-19 and initiation of antihypertensives were assessed by a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model. A total of 224 582 patients (exposed and unexposed) were included. After adjusting for cardiovascular comorbidities and education level, ACEi was the most commonly initiated antihypertensive agent to patients with COVID-19. Hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval for initiation of drug therapy was 1.83 [1.53-2.19] for ACEi, followed by beta-blockers 1.74 [1.55-1.95], calcium channel blockers 1.61 [1.41-1.83], angiotensin receptor blockers 1.61 [1.40-1.86], and diuretics 1.53 [1.32-1.77]. All antihypertensive medicines were initiated more frequently in COVID-19 patients. This can either be associated with hypertension caused by the COVID-19 infection, more frequent diagnosis of hypertension among people with COVID-19 since they consult health care, or residual confounding factors not adjusted for in the study.