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A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial to assess the photosensitizing, phototoxic and carcinogenic potential of hydrochlorothiazide in healthy volunteers.

Journal of Hypertension 2023 September 15
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Pharmocovigillance reports, associating hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) with skin cancer, resulted in a significant decrease of HCT prescriptions for hypertension and heart failure. Whether HCT exhibits phototoxic properties thereby causing skin cancer remains unknown. This study aimed to examine the photosensitizing, phototoxic and carcinogenic potential of HCT in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial in vivo and also in vitro.

METHODS: The trial assigned 30 healthy, normotensive adult volunteers in a 2:1 ratio to either HCT 25 mg/day or placebo for 15 days. Photosensitivity of the skin with and without the effect of HCT treatment were assessed. Following whole-body ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB, 311 nm) irradiation, phototoxic and carcinogenic reactions by measuring urinary excretion of pyrimidine dimers were evaluated. For the in-vitro studies, human keratinocytes (HaCaT) were incubated with HCT, irradiated with UVB, and analysed for markers of inflammation, apoptosis and carcinogenesis.

RESULTS: Skin photosensitivity following exposure to UVA and UVB remained unchanged from baseline to 15-day follow-up in both groups (UVA change HCT 0.0 J/cm2 vs. placebo 0.0 J/cm2; P = 0.99; UVB change HCT 0.0 J/cm2 vs. placebo -0.2 J/cm2; P = 0.06). Pyrimidine dimers were not detected in either group. In vitro, combination of HCT and UVB irradiation did not induce the expression of oxidative stress marker proteins, inflammatory proteins, apoptotic proteins or activation of oncoproteins.

CONCLUSION: HCT did not increase photosensitivity for UVA or UVB in healthy volunteers compared with placebo, and was not associated with phototoxic or carcinogenic reactions. In vitro, HCT was also not associated with phototoxicity or carcinogenesis (NCT04654312).

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