"Patients with hypertension are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, and reducing blood pressure to goal levels is essential to lower this risk," Fonarow said. "Clinicians and researchers continue to debate whether there are important differences among the specific medications in reducing risk."
These two studies involved pooling together different randomized trials to explore the relative differences for coronary heart disease and stroke risk with different classes of antihypertensive agents, Fonarow said.
"Despite the large number of studies and patients, due to differences in the on-treatment blood pressures achieved in the various studies, something which was not controlled for in these analyses, no firm conclusions can be drawn," Fonarow said. "Furthermore, recent large scale randomized clinical trials where similar blood pressures have been achieved provide entirely different conclusions."
"Achieving and maintaining control of blood pressure to goal levels with lifestyle changes and, when indicated, anti-hypertensive medications is far more important than which specific anti-hypertensive medication is selected," he said.
For more on heart disease and stroke, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: William J. Elliott, M.D., Ph.D., professor, preventive medicine, internal medicine and pharmacology, Rush Medical College, Chicago; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; May 6, 2009, presentations, American Society of Hypertension annual meeting, San Francisco
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