High BP drug results good7th August 2007
Researchers have halted a trial testing drugs which lower blood pressure in elderly patients because of significant results.
The international team, led by Imperial College London, said the drugs were able to decrease the rate of strokes and mortality due to heart problems in patients over the age of 80.
Lead researcher Professor Chris Bulpitt said the results were good news for "this age group because they suggest that where they have high blood pressure, such treatment can cut their chances of dying as well as stroke."
14% of deaths in England and Wales in the over-85 age group were caused by a stroke. High blood pressure increases the risk of a person suffering a stroke.
The Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET), which began in 2001, is the biggest of its kind to date and involved 3,845 patients.
Previous studies had found that drugs to reduce blood pressure had "produced inconclusive results" in elderly patients. The studies indicated that, although lower blood pressure could decrease the number of strokes in elderly subjects, it might increase the overall death rate.
HYVET subjects who had high blood pressure received a low dose diuretic and an ACE inhibitor, perindopril, or a dummy tablet.
The trial was halted in July, but the full results will not become available "for some time." All the trial's subjects will be given the option of receiving the treatment.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said the study's results were "very important...this study has paved the way for elderly people to now have access to this life-saving treatment."
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Title: High BP drug results good
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3651
Date Added: 7th Aug 2007