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Blood Pressure Drug Study Halts on Good News

Newer treatment combo outperformed older regimen, researchers say

FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An international trial comparing blood pressure drugs has been halted early because one of the treatments performed much better than the other in the trial.

The Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT) was launched in 1997 and included 19,000 patients in the United Kingdom, Ireland and five Nordic countries.

The blood pressure part of the trial, the last of the clinical trials, was designed to compare an older treatment strategy using a beta blocker, atenolol, and a thiazide diuretic, bendroflumethiazide, to a newer treatment strategy using a calcium channel blocker, amlodipine, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, perindopril.

The researchers found the new strategy was much more effective in controlling blood pressure than the older one.

"This is excellent news for the many people who suffer from high blood pressure. Although at the moment we are unable to provide any definite figures on the effectiveness of the new treatments compared with the old, we have seen important significant differences," the study authors reported.

Complete results will be published once all the data has been collected and analyzed.

ASCOT is jointly coordinated by Imperial College London and the Scandinavian Coordinating Centre in Gteborg, Sweden. Pfizer Inc. provided the majority of funding.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about high blood pressure.

SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, Dec. 8, 2004
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