New research supports the findings of a landmark drug comparison study published in 2002 in which a diuretic drug or "water pill" outperformed other medications for high blood pressure. A scientific team including investigators from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston reports the findings in the May 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
About one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), can lead to a host of health problems including heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) is the largest high blood pressure treatment trial ever conducted and compared the impact of four classes of blood pressure drugs on 42,418 high-risk patients between 1994 and 2002. High blood pressure in adults is defined as 140/90 mm Hg or above.
"We looked at data since the trial ended to make sure our message hasn't changed. And, it hasn't. Diuretic drugs work as well or better than other medications in preventing heart failure," said Barry Davis, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author, Guy S. Parcel Chair in Public Health and director of the Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials (CCCT) at The University of Texas School of Public Health.
Diuretic drugs reduce blood pressure by clearing the body of excess fluid and sodium. In the ALLHAT study, diuretic drugs were compared to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that widen blood vessels and decrease resistance, calcium channel blockers that relax vessels by slowing the flow of calcium into the heart and alpha blockers, which also relax blood vessels.
In addition to providing superior protection against new-onset heart failure, the thiazide-type diuretic used in the ALLHAT study (chlorthalidone) was superior to the alpha blocker (doxazosin) in prot
|Contact: Robert Cahill|
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston