UH Med Now


Date: July 23rd, 2020 in Care, External News, Faculty, Family Medicine, IN THE NEWS, JABSOM News, Research    Print or PDF

COVID-19 dysregulates a hormone system causing damage to the heart and lungs; a common blood pressure drug just might help.

HONOLULU— The first outpatient clinical trial in Hawaii is aimed at finding an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 using telmisartan, a medication commonly used for blood pressure control.

Researchers at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) University of Hawaii (UH) announced they need 40 patients to participate in the 21-day clinical trial. By decreasing the severity of the disease, researchers believe that telmisartan will lower the chances that COVID 19 patients will need to be hospitalized.

“We will test the hypothesis that much of the dangerous lung and heart effects of
COVID-19 is caused by the virus’ ability to dysregulate the delicate balance in a hormone system in our body called the renin angiotensin system,” said Dr. Cecilia
Shikuma, Professor of Medicine at JABSOM and the lead investigator for this study.

“Telmisartan lowers blood pressure by blocking the harmful effects of this hormone system, and we hope to find preliminary evidence that taking the drug will also prevent much of the harmful effects of the virus.”
The research has UH Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to proceed. Dr. Shikuma adds that “It is an advantage that telmisartan is already FDA approved
and much of the safety concerns of this drug is already known.”

“Prospective patients to be enrolled are adults who are symptomatic and recently diagnosed to have COVID-19,” said Cris Milne RN, the research nurse for the study.

Medications will be given for a total of 21 days. The study will also draw blood and obtain throat swabs at the study visits. Participants will be asked to monitor
temperature and blood pressures at home.

The study is listed in the national clearinghouse for clinical trials (ClinicalTrials.gov)
as NCT04360551.

For information, contact Cris Milne at 692-1335 or email cmilne@hawaii.edu.

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