OBJECTIVES: Antihypertensive drugs (AHTD) and statins have been shown to have effects beyond their primarily designed purpose; here we investigate their possible effect on muscle performance and strength in older adults following a physical exercise programme.
DESIGN: The Senior PRoject INtensive Training (SPRINT) study is a randomised, controlled clinical trial designed to evaluate the effects of physical exercise on the immune system and muscle performance in older adults.
PARTICIPANTS: In this secondary analysis, we included 179 independent participants (aged 65 years and above). We applied further categorisation based on medication use: AHTD (including, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors [ACEI], angiotensin II receptor blockers [ARB], β-blockers, and other AHTD) and statins.
INTERVENTION: Participants were allocated randomly to one of the three exercise protocols: intensive strength training 3 times/week (3 × 10 repetitions at 80% of one-repetition maximum), strength endurance training (2 × 30 repetitions at 40% of one-repetition maximum), or control (passive stretching exercise) for 6 weeks.
MEASUREMENTS: The change in maximal hand grip strength (GS), muscle fatigue resistance (FR), Muscle Strength Index (MSI), the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and Timed Up and Go Test (TUG) were assessed before and after 6 weeks of training.
RESULTS: After 6 weeks, muscle strength (MSI and TUG) improved significantly in all training groups compared to baseline, independently of AHTD use. Moreover, AHTD had no effect on exercise improvements, with no significant differences between medication groups, except for TUG in ARB users, which exhibited a significantly lower performance. On the other hand, statin users presented a significantly longer FR time, indicating better performance compared to non-users. Finally, medication did not affect the participants' commitment to the training programme.
CONCLUSION: Our study showed that statins and ARB usage might affect participant's response to strength training. Nevertheless, 6 weeks of training significantly improved muscle strength and performance irrespective of AHTD or statin use.