Heart medications and COVID-19: what health professionals need to know
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart medications and COVID-19: what health professionals need to know

Media Release - 23 March 2020

The Heart Foundation is aware of concerns about a possible link between ACE inhibitor medications (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) and increased risk of infection with COVID-19 and worsened outcomes.

At this stage, the Heart Foundation recommends that the routine use of ARB and ACE inhibitor medications should continue in the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, secondary prevention of acute coronary syndrome and other chronic conditions. 

Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings said:

The suggested link between COVID-19 and ARBs and ACE inhibitors is based on the observation that these antihypertensives increase levels of the ACE2 enzyme in the body, the same enzyme that the SARS coronavirus uses to infect the body.

“We want to highlight that at this stage, there is no clinical data from people infected with the COVID-19 virus to confirm this theory.

Given the lack of clinical evidence at this stage, and the known benefits of ARB and ACE inhibitor medications, the Heart Foundation is advising patients continue to take all their medications, including ARBs or ACE inhibitors, as prescribed by their doctor.

Professor Jennings said it’s understandable and important for both patients and health professionals to be concerned when there are reports about possible harms from medications, but stopping these medications abruptly can do more harm than good.

There is the potential for serious harm if people stop taking their ARB and ACE inhibitor medications.

"These medications have demonstrated substantial benefits in reducing risk of death, cardiovascular events and hospitalisations in the secondary prevention of acute coronary syndromes and the treatment of hypertension, heart failure, and other chronic conditions.

Further research into the relationships between specific medicines and COVID-19 is ongoing.

The Heart Foundation recommends Australians stay up to date with the latest information about COVID-19 by monitoring the Department of Health website or by contacting  the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

The Tick Program has made a substantial contribution to the health of Australians over the past 26 years....

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

Question of the month blog...

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack. ...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

David reflects on how his life changed when he had a heart attack at 35 and how he got back on track....

What is plant-based eating

What is plant-based eating

What is plant-based eating

Learn about plant-based eating and its impact on heart health ...

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Reading food labels

Nutrition information panels and ingredients lists are a good way of comparing similar foods so you can choose the healthiest option....

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Discover how to plan for your return to work....

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Understand how smoking can impact your heart health. ...

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts is a six-episode series interviewing young people with lived experience of heart conditions and talking through advice for supporting emotional health and well-being....

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Finding time for physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart...

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Honour the life of a loved one with a donation to the Heart Foundation. Your donation offers hope for Australian hearts....