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Newer Blood Pressure Drug No Better Than Placebo in Preventing Stroke
Date:8/27/2008

Patients may need to be on telmisartan longer to see positive effect, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The blood pressure drug telmisartan does not lower the rate of stroke, cardiovascular events or diabetes better than a placebo in patients who have had a stroke, a new study finds.

Telmisartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker, which works by blocking the action of chemicals that constrict the blood vessels enabling the blood to flow more smoothly, thus lowering blood pressure.

"Overall, there was no difference in the two groups, people taking telmisartan and those taking placebo," said study co-researcher Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. "However, we did find a difference in that those who were in the study longer the drug had an effect compared to those who were in the study for a short time."

Sacco thinks that the longer someone takes telmisartan may increase its effectiveness in preventing additional strokes. "These effects have not been seen early after a stroke, they may be more delayed," he said. "The follow-up time in this study was only two a half years, and it may have hurt us."

Blood pressure control is essential in preventing strokes, Sacco said. "But this study in itself doesn't say you have to use angiotensin II receptor blocker early," he said. "Other studies have suggested that these drugs may be better for stroke risk reduction, but in this study, we can't say that."

The report was released early in the Aug. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, Sacco's group randomly assigned 20,332 stroke patients to daily doses of telmisartan or placebo. The researchers looked for incidents of stroke in cardiovascular events such as heart attack and heart failure. They also looked for new cases of diabetes.

Over two-and-a-half years of follow-up,
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