July 13th, 2012
Meta-Analysis: ACE Inhibitors Associated with Lower Pneumonia Risk
Angiotensin-converting–enzyme inhibitors may offer some protection against pneumonia, according to a BMJ meta-analysis. An editorialist isn’t so sure.
Researchers looked at almost 40 studies — including cohort studies, case-control studies, and randomized trials — that reported pneumonia outcomes after use of ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, and control treatments. The data revealed that ACE inhibitors conferred a roughly 30% decrease in risk for pneumonia, when compared with ARBs or control treatments. The effect was particularly pronounced in Asian patients.
The authors speculate that the cough often associated with ACE inhibitors may actually play a part in the protective effect by clearing respiratory tract secretions.
An editorialist finds it “difficult to agree” with the authors’ enthusiasm. She calls for more studies “before we advise patients to put up with their cough because it may prevent them from getting pneumonia.”