Acute pancreatitis is a potentially lethal disease, with a rising incidence in the Western world. Yet, no pharmacological prevention or specific treatment for acute pancreatitis exists. Also, the connection with severity of acute pancreatitis is unknown. Experimental and epidemiological research suggests a protective effect of angiotensin II receptor blockers.
During 2006 to 2008, we performed a nationwide case-control study on Swedish residents aged 40-84 years. First-time cases with acute pancreatitis were identified in the National Patient Register and data on dispensed prescriptions was retrieved from the Prescribed Drug Register. Controls were randomly selected from the general population in Sweden frequency-matched on sex, age, and calendar year. To estimate relative risk of acute pancreatitis, by degree of severity, among users of angiotensin II receptor blockers, as compared to non-users, we used multivariable logistic regression analysis to calculate odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI).
Among 6,161 cases of acute pancreatitis and 61,637 controls, current use of angiotensin II receptor blockers was followed by a decreased risk of acute pancreatitis, compared to non-users, adjusted OR 0?·?77 (95% CI 0?·?69-0?·?86). No protective association, but an increased risk was found for users of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (adjusted OR 1?·?11, 95% CI: 1?·?01-1?·?21), analysed for comparison reasons. There was a significant decreased risk associated with both severe acute pancreatitis, (OR 0?·?71 (0?·?59-0?·?85), and mild acute pancreatitis; adjusted OR 0?·?81 (0?·?70-0?·?94).
This population-based case-control study indicates that use of angiotensin II receptor blockers might be associated with a lesser risk of acute pancreatitis, and that the protective association was significant among cases of both severe and mild acute pancreatitis.