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The major anti-hypertensive (AHT) drug classes have been associated with differential risks of psychiatric disorders. However, existing data are limited largely to depression, and confounding variables have not always been controlled for. We sought to fill the evidence gap, using TriNetX Analytics, an electronic health records network. Amongst 58.6 million patients aged 18-90 years, patients prescribed a calcium channel blocker (CCB) were compared with those taking a diuretic, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI), angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), or β-blocker. Cohorts were propensity score-matched for age, sex, race, and blood pressure. Over a 2-year exposure period, we measured the incidence and risk ratio of a first diagnosis (ICD-10 codes), or a recurrence, of psychotic, affective, and anxiety disorders, as well as substance use disorders and sleep disorders. Cohort sizes ranged from 33,734 to 322,814. CCBs were associated with a lower incidence of psychotic, affective, and anxiety disorders than β-blockers (risk ratios 0.69-0.99) and a higher incidence than ARBs (risk ratios 1.04-2.23) for both first and recurrent diagnoses. Comparisons of CCBs with ACEIs or diuretics showed smaller risk ratios that varied between disorders, and between first episode and recurrence. AHT classes were also associated with the incidence of substance use and sleep disorders. Results remained largely unchanged after more extensive cohort matching for additional potential confounders. In a secondary analysis, a comparison between ARBs and ACEIs showed lower rates of psychotic, affective, and substance use disorders with ARBs, but higher risks of anxiety and sleep disorders. In conclusion, AHT classes are differentially associated with the incidence of psychiatric disorders. ARBs show the most advantageous profile and β-blockers the least. The apparent beneficial effects of ARBs merit further study.

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Psychiatry

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