FRIDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Costly, brand-name blood
pressure-lowering drugs are no better at preventing cardiovascular
disease than older, generic diuretics, reveals long-term data from
a large study.
It included more than 33,000 patients with high blood pressure
who were randomly selected to take either a diuretic
(chlorthalidone) or one of two newer drugs -- a calcium blocker
(amlodipine) or an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril).
Data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to
Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) released in 2002 showed that
after four to eight years of follow-up, the diuretic was better
than the calcium blocker in preventing heart failure and better
than the ACE inhibitor in preventing stroke, heart failure and
overall cardiovascular disease.
Differences between the drugs narrowed after eight to 13 years
of follow-up, the findings show. However, the diuretic was still
better in two areas. Compared with patients taking the diuretic,
those in the ACE inhibitor group had a 20 percent higher death rate
from stroke, and those in the calcium channel blocker group had a
12 percent higher rate of hospitalization and death because of
The results were to be presented Friday at the China Heart
Congress and International Heart Forum in Beijing.
"We are continuing to mine data that we collected during the trial," Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System and chairman of ALLHAT, said in a university news release.
ALLHAT is sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
blood pressure medicines.