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Statins Effective In Lowering Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke In Combination With Blood Pressure Medication

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A large study on the effects of statins and blood pressure medications to patients who have hypertension and a moderate risk of heart disease may change a big part of health care. It may also tell who gets what type of medication.

Many studies have already been undertaken on the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular or heart disease that is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some of these researches covered drugs that can control cholesterol and high pressure, two of the risk factors of heart disease, but they are usually focused on people who have already experienced a cardiovascular (CV) event like stroke or heart attack.

The randomized clinical trial called HOPE-3, funded by AstraZeneca and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, worked with 12,705 men and women with ages from 55 to 60, who have shown moderate risk of heart disease like hypertension, obesity, and smoking but had never been diagnosed with a heart disease and had never experienced a CV event, across 21 countries. 

The trial had three approaches: 10 milligrams a day of rosuvastatin, 16 milligrams of candesartan with 12.5 milligrams of hydrochlorothiazide daily, and a combination of the drugs for 5.7 years.

When the data from these participants were compared to that of the placebo group, the researchers found out that taking cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins can decrease the long-term risk of CV events by 25 percent. A different previous study also shows that it may cut the risk of bypass surgery complications.

Anti-hypertensives, meanwhile, didn't contribute to the reduction of CV event risk except among those who already had high blood pressure, although giving the drugs in small doses might have also affected the medications' potential health benefit.

However, when both statins and anti-hypertensives were prescribed, people with medium-risk heart disease were less likely to experience cardiovascular events by 30 percent. It went up to 40 percent among hypertensive patients.

"Intermediate-risk people with hypertension had a clear benefit when taking both a statin and an agent that lowers blood pressure," said Dr. Salim Yusuf, university cardiology professor and the leader of the study.

Under the new guidelines, statins are recommended on people who are 40 to 75 years old with no history of heart disease but possess at least 7.5 percent risk of developing a heart attack within the next ten years. It can also be given to those who have experienced a cardiovascular event, 21 and older people with high levels of bad cholesterol, and 40 to 75 years old diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The rest of the cases will be according to the doctor's judgment.

With the trial's result, it may now be possible for hypertensive patients with moderate-risk heart disease to be treated with "both a statin and a blood pressure medication as a matter of course," added Yusuf.

The clinical trial's results were shared during the April 2 session of American College of Cardiology.

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