15th March 2020
Recent media reports that ACE Inhibitor drugs (‘pril’ drugs) and Angiotensin receptor blockers (‘sartan’ drugs) may increase the risk of death from novel corona virus (COVID-19) infection will provoke anxiety for many people with kidney disease and leave them uncertain about the best action to take.
Patients are prescribed these medications for a number of reasons and for some people, particularly those with heart failure, stopping the drugs suddenly can lead them to become unwell. This can cause people to become more breathless and may create uncertainty about whether symptoms are due to infection (such as COVID-19), or to underlying health problems.
The evidence that these medications increase the risk of death is unconvincing: the reports may simply reflect the fact that people taking the drugs are more likely to have conditions that place them at high risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
We therefore advise people taking these medications to continue to take them. If they become unwell such that they need to seek medical help, the doctor may advise stopping the drugs depending on their clinical condition.
We are continuing to review the evidence as it comes in and will update this advice as needed.