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Important news about high blood pressure drugs

An analysis that looked at 5 million health records has concluded that high blood pressure (HBP) drug meds may not be as similar in effect as doctors like to think.

In fact, in this review, patients who were first started on a thiazide diuretic drug (one of the oldest class of drugs for HBP, and hence a class that is available in a very cheap generic form and hence again, is not hyped, promoted, encouraged, etc by drug companies so doctors often overlook thiazides in favour of drugs that are hyped, promoted, encouraged, etc) did significantly better than patients first started on a newer class of HBP meds known as ACE inhibitors.

And when I say better I mean the people on thiazides – full disclosure: I use hydrochlorothiazide (and no other drug) to help manage my HBP – had fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, fewer cases of heart failure, and – hold your breath – lower rates of 19 side effects compared to the ACE inhibitor users.

This study in the Lancet shouldn’t push everyone on an ACE inhibitor to immediately switch meds.

What it should do, though, is encourage everyone who is on any HBP drug to have a good discussion (the next time they need to get their prescription renewed) with their doctor about why they are on the particular drug that was chosen for them.

You will be amazed at how often there is little good reason to have selected one drug over others.

And as usual, you can read a great review of this report in HealthDay.