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Genetics Influence Blood Pressure Medications
Date:1/22/2008

A person's gene profile seems to dictate reponse, study finds

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A person's genetic make-up seems to influence how he or she reacts to certain hypertension medications.

In the future, being able to match genes with medications may help save a patient's life, experts predict.

"This is potentially a very, very important observation. It's a large study with hard clinical endpoints," said Dr. Joshua M. Hare, chief of cardiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "This is a beautiful example of what we anticipate personalized medicine to be," said Hare, who was not involved in the research.

Another expert agreed. Dr. Jeffery Vance, professor at the Miami Institute for Human Genomics, said that "This is where medicine is going. It's important that we've got big clinical trials [showing this]. They cost a lot of money but this shows that it's clearly worth it."

The gene variant identified in the new study is likely to be just one of several that play a role in hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

"Hypertension is such a complex disease. There are many different mechanisms that help us regulate our blood pressure so we would not expect any one gene to have a really large effect for [such] a common condition like hypertension," noted study senior author Donna K. Arnett, professor and chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's department of epidemiology. "That we found this effect is important because we didn't think we would ever be able to do pharmacogenetics, given the complexity of hypertension."

According to background information with the study, published in the Jan. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, some 65 million people in the United States have hypertension. But only about two-thirds have their condition under control. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to such problems as heart
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