Study: Certain gut bacteria may make blood pressure medication less effective

Image of antihypertensive pills next to a blood pressure cuff.

Researchers are reporting that certain bacteria in your gut may make blood pressure medication less effective.  A better understanding of this problem could lead to improved blood pressure control, they say. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects half of U.S. adults and can cause heart disease. Despite availability of antihypertensive drugs, many people don’t respond well to these medications.   

In animal studies, researchers showed that certain gut bacteria can break down and hinder these drugs. In particular, the gut bacterium Coprococcus comes reduced the antihypertensive effects of quinapril, and ACE inhibitor. 

Young Oh, Ph.D., a program officer with the NHLBI, agrees that this study represents an important piece of the puzzle in understanding resistant hypertension. 

“The gut microbiome has been understudied as it relates to hypertension,” said Oh, who was not a member of the study team. “While this study fills an important knowledge gap, more studies are needed, particularly in humans, to confirm the findings.” 

The study could lead to improved blood pressure treatments, including probiotics and antibiotics. The study, funded by the NHLBI, appeared in the journal Hypertension