Questions about treatments of hypertension raised by study Stroke, angina more likely with frequent-dose drug

March 02, 1997|By NEWSDAY

Patients taking certain calcium channel blockers for hypertension had a higher risk of "cardiovascular events," including stroke and angina, but those on the long-acting calcium channel blockers appeared to suffer no major side effects, according to a new study.

Calcium channel blockers, also called calcium antagonists, are the most widely prescribed medicine for high blood pressure.

But some studies have linked the drug's short-acting versions -- those that must be taken several times a day -- to increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

In a study published in yesterday's British medical journal Lancet, researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., compared 162 patients with high blood pressure taking calcium channel blockers with a group taking beta blockers, another hypertension medication.

Of those taking the calcium channel blockers, 27 were taking the short-acting type, one was taking both types and the rest were taking the long-acting type for six months.

Though the number was small, researchers found those taking the short-acting calcium channel blockers had nearly four times as many cardiovascular events as those taking beta blockers or long-acting calcium channel blockers.

The first large national study is looking at the effectiveness and safety of long-acting calcium channel blockers, which are taken once a day; the results are expected by 2000.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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