Kidney disease in people with hypertension

Lilach O. Lerman, M.D., Ph.D., is researching kidney disease in people with high blood pressure (hypertension). She has requested samples from 50 Biobank participants without a history of hypertension to compare with those from patients — recruited through a separate study — with hypertension. For a given patient, she would like to know how kidney disease is affected by the presence of hypertension.

Mechanism of a blood pressure medication and its effect on the intestine

Joseph A. Murray, M.D., has identified in previous research that olmesartan (Benicar), a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication, causes severe gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and electrolyte abnormalities in a small percentage of individuals. Interestingly, these signs and symptoms are also common among those who have celiac disease.

Mayo Clinic is conducting a study to explore why this is happening to some people on this medication and why the symptoms are so similar to celiac disease, despite a demonstrated lack of gluten sensitivity in these individuals. Although the number of individuals who take olmesartan is low, the symptoms that some people face with this medication may be severe if left untreated.

Therefore, Dr. Murray has asked for up to 200 Biobank blood samples from participants for his study, some of whom are on this medication (cases) and some of whom are not (controls). This will help determine more about the effects of this medication in patients, and if there are genetic markers that could identify these individuals who have significant gastrointestinal issues from this drug before they develop the symptoms.