Group warns about hypertension drug combo

Jan. 16, 2009 at 2:47 PM
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TORONTO, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Heart and Stroke Foundation is warning some Canadians with high blood pressure that a drug combination may put them at risk.

Guidelines from the Canadian Hypertension Education Program urge patients who have been prescribed a combination of ACE inhibitors and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers to see their family physicians as soon as possible for a treatment change.

"These two popular categories of hypertension medication are each safe and effective treatments -- but not together," Dr. Sheldon Tobe, spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and CHEP executive member, said in a statement.

As many as 175,000 Canadians with high blood pressure may currently receive this combination of medications, Tobe said.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors are a type of blood pressure medication that helps widens blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through. Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers inhibit the action of a peptide called angiotensin, which causes blood vessels to narrow, helping to relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

Problems surfaced earlier this year in a study carried out by Heart and Stroke Foundation. The drug combination of an ACE inhibitor and an ARB was found to be only marginally more effective at lowering blood pressure than either of the drugs taken alone, but patients experienced more side effects such as kidney problems than those on only one of the drugs.

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