Newer Blood Pressure Drugs Beat Back Heart Attack

Modern meds like ACE inhibitors protect better than older agents, study finds

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SUNDAY, Sept. 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Combination therapy using newer anti-hypertensive drugs does a better job of lowering risks for heart attack and stroke than older, standard therapies, a new study finds.

In a five-year randomized trial involving more than 19,000 European patients, treatment with newer medications amlodipine and perindopril prevented more cardiovascular events than use of atenolol (a beta blocker) and thiazide (a diuretic).

Patients using amlodipine -- one of the calcium channel blocker class of drugs -- and the ACE inhibitor perindopril also had better blood pressure control than those on the older medications, reported researchers led by Bjorn Dahlof of Sahlgrenska Hospital in Sweden.

Writing in an article published online Sunday by The Lancet, Dahlof said the combined use of amlodipine and perindopril, along with interventions to lower cholesterol, "results in the prevention of most major cardiovascular events associated with hypertension."

Dahlof, in a prepared statement, said he believed the findings could change clinical practice and "should greatly reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease to which patients with hypertension are exposed."

A second study in the journal found that most of the benefit from these newer drugs, in terms of reducing stroke risk, comes from their effectiveness in lowering blood pressure. Cholesterol reduction also played a significant role, too, according to researchers at Imperial College London.

More information

To learn more about managing blood pressure, head to the American Heart Association.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Sept. 4, 2005

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