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A newer type of drug for lowering blood pressure has shown a modest reduction in cardiovascular deaths, strokes and heart attacks, according to research.
Telmisartan – an angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) – was given to patients with heart problems and diabetes who cannot tolerate the standard and more widely used angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
The research was led by Salim Yusuf and Koon Teo, professors in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and clinicians at Hamilton Health Sciences, both based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Their findings were published online in the The Lancet.
ACE inhibitors improve blood flow by widening blood vessels, but about 20% of patients who might benefit from ACE inhibitors cannot tolerate them because of kidney problems, swelling, low blood pressure or coughing.
ARB also reduces blood pressure but via a different route; it blocks receptors for the naturally-occurring hormone angiotensin II that narrows blood vessels and thereby increases blood pressure.
The researchers reported the results of the Transcend study that recruited nearly 6,000 patients in 630 hospitals in 40 countries. The patients were all intolerant to ACE inhibitors, and had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes with end-organ damage.
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