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A common drug prescribed to more than 10 million annually may cause melanoma

Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used to treat everything from hypertension and osteoporosis, to diabetes has now been linked to an increased risk of melanoma based on the findings of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense found that, individuals prescribed an annual does of more the 50,000 mg of hydrochlorothiazide were found to have a higher rate of being diagnosed with melanoma than those that had never taken the drug. Over a 10 year period, researchers studied melanoma cases in subjects ages 18-90 that lived the entirety of their lives in Denmark. Some factors were not taken into account such as: “family history of melanoma, sun exposure, etc. but that these characteristics are "unlikely to be substantially associated with hydrochlorothiazide use, and thus unlikely to confound out estimates…" according to the study’s authors.

Anton Pottegård, MScPharm, PhD, of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and the authors of the study believe there’s a clear link when it comes to the “casual relationship between hydrochlorothiazide use and risk of lip cancer…" The real question now is, what do these findings mean for Lentigo and Nodular melanoma? More work of course needs to be done before we’ll have some answers.

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