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Study could improve stroke regimen


A breakthrough study into the side effects of various blood pressure drugs could shed new light on their stroke-prevention effectiveness, scientists have said.

Analysing the results of two investigations into a number of treatments, Professor Peter Rothwell, from the University of Oxford, found that ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-2-receptor blockers and beta blockers increased variations in systolic blood pressure, while calcium channel blockers and non-loop diuretic drugs reduced it.

Speaking in the Lancet Neurology, he said: “Importantly, we have also shown that different blood-pressure-lowering drugs have different effects on blood pressure variability. Some increase the variability, which is bad, and some decrease it, which is good. We also show that these effects correlate with differences in the effectiveness of the drugs in preventing stroke.

“The work shows that many patients need blood-pressure-stabilising drugs – a new concept – as well as blood-pressure-lowering drugs.”

Reacting to the research, professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Current practice is not wrong, but this might add a new measure to help doctors make decisions on who to treat for hypertension and which drug to use.”

Copyright Press Association 2010
The Lancet

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