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MHRA drug safety update: hydrochlorothiazide and non-melanoma skin cancer

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Review of: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Hydrochlorothiazide: risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, particularly in long-term use. Drug Safety Update 2018; 12(4): 2.

Key learning points

  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has reported a cumulative, dose-dependent risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in people taking hydrochlorothiazide.

  • It was estimated that around 9 in 100 SCC cases, 11 in 100 SCC lip cancer cases and fewer than 1 in 100 BCC cases diagnosed during the study periods may be attributed to hydrochlorothiazide use.

Patients taking hydrochlorothiazide-containing products should be informed of the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer and should regularly check for, and report, any new or changed skin lesions or moles.1

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