4 Popular Drugs That May Increase Your Cancer Risk — Best Life

4 Popular Drugs That May Increase Your Cancer Risk — Best Life

Many medicines can be extremely useful, from relieving ailments to saving lives. But shortages and recalls can cause concern, leading people to to look for alternatives replace with your prescribed medication. At the same time, a huge portion of the population uses prescription drugs – approx 66 percent of adults In the United States of America. Talking to your doctor about the risks of certain medications and weighing them against the benefits can help you make informed decisions.

Another type of important data to collect relates to healthy habits versus those that may be on the rise your cancer risk. Do you use sunscreen and do you eat healthy? Did you know you drink coffee? can help in prevention a certain type of disease? These are some of the factors to consider when thinking about your overall health. Making sure your medication is right for you—and as risk-free as possible—is another important component of cancer prevention. Read on to learn about four drugs that may increase your risk of cancer.

READ THE FOLLOWING: This common drug could be harming your brain, a new study says.

EKG test and pills spilling out of the container.

Blood pressure medications can be very effective in controlling hypertension. “The benefits of blood pressure medications are clear: blood pressure medications can help you maintain your blood pressure at healthy levels and therefore greatly reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “In general, the risks of taking blood pressure medication are low.”

However, Sony Sherpa, MD, warns that angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) used to treat hypertension “have been found to contain intolerable levels of NDMA, which is a potential carcinogen.” And blood pressure medications that contain hydrochlorothiazide have been linked to higher risk of skin cancer, reports the Mayo Clinic. “Researchers speculate that this occurs because hydrochlorothiazide makes the skin more sensitive to the sun,” the site says, adding that more research is needed into possible dangers.

A woman in a blue shirt pours supplements into a white bottle in her hand.
Shutterstock / An Mazhor

They may have different heartburn medications different potential risks. “Zantac is a cure for many [people] to treat heartburn,” says Sherpa. “In addition to the main drug components, Zantac also has impurities, such as NDMA [a potentially carcinogenic, nitrosamine impurity] which increase the risk of developing cancer.”

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are available by prescription and over the counter (OTC). According to MedlinePlus, they are used to treat various gastrointestinal complaints such as acid reflux or stomach ulcer; some well-known PPIs include Prevacid and Prilosec. “Because PPIs such as omeprazole are strong stomach acid suppressors [they] can increase risk of stomach cancer causing atrophy (thinning) of the stomach lining, raising levels of a hormone called gastrin, and overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach,” according to

“Several studies have shown a connection between PPI use and gastric cancer,” Mark H. EbellMD, MS wrote in an article he published American family physician. Ebell recommended that “Physicians initiating antacid therapy should begin with a histamine H2 receptor antagonist and, if prescribing a PPI, should use the lowest possible dose and duration.”

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A woman takes pills for supplements

In August 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement about another nitrosamine impurity, Nitroso-STG-19 (known as NTTP) that was found in some samples of sitagliptin (a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes melitus). “NTTP belongs to the nitrosamine class of compounds, some of which are classified as probable or probable human carcinogens (substances that could cause cancer), based on laboratory tests,” the FDA stated. However, “to avoid shortages and help ensure patients have access to an adequate supply of the drug, FDA will not object to the temporary distribution of sitagliptin containing NTTP above the acceptable intake limit.”

“It could be dangerous for patients with this condition to stop taking sitagliptin without first talking to their healthcare provider,” warned the FDA, which recommended that “prescribers continue to use sitagliptin when clinically appropriate to prevent a gap in treatment of patients”.

Close-up of the tablet.
Lion Alphan/iStock

The hormone estrogen can be used as an aid in treatment symptoms of menopause, which include hot flashes and vaginal dryness, explains the Cleveland Clinic. “But taking estrogen alone increases the risk of uterine cancer,” warns the site. “Experts know that several different factors play a role in turning healthy cells into cancerous ones. When these factors are present, estrogen can act as a spark [and] the hormone causes cancer cells to multiply and spread.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) notes that combined hormone therapy, in which progesterone is used in addition to estrogen, may help reduce the risk of uterine cancer. This therapy is known as estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT). Estrogen therapy, or ET, “is only safe for women who do not have a uterus (such as those who have had a hysterectomy),” notes the ACS.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research and health agencies, but our content is not a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to medications you are taking or any other health concerns you may have, always consult your doctor directly.

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