APhA coronavirus watch: What to tell patients about ACE-Is and ARBs

What information can you offer your patients asking about their ACE-Is and ARBs amid the pandemic? Do these medications increase the risk of severe complications or mortality from COVID-19? Should patients currently taking these medications be transitioned to other agents?

There has been much hypothesizing on the topic, and the March 30 episode of APhA’s 15 on COVID-19 training series provides some clarity. To date, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that ACE-Is and ARBs may result in an increase of the angiotensin converting enzyme 2, the enzyme that makes it necessary for COVID-19 to enter cells. Until more research determines an answer, the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and Heart Failure Society of America recommend that pharmacists instruct patients already taking these medications to continue doing so, unless diagnosed with COVID-19. If diagnosed, individual decisions about treatment should be made based on the patient’s status.

COVID-19 causes more questions than answers, but pharmacists can prepare themselves by attending sessions such as APhA’s 15 on COVID-19 Series that provides pharmacists with the details and most recent developments available on the pandemic.