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STUDY: Study suggests older remedy may trump new medicines
JOURNAL: Journal of the American Medical Association
AUTHORS: Dr. Jackson T. Wright Jr.
ABSTRACT: An old-fashioned diuretic is as good, if not better, than some newer, more expensive medicines for treating high blood pressure and preventing its complications.
COMMENTARY: Diuretics, commonly called water pills, should be the first medicine prescribed to treat high blood pressure and that, when multiple medications are needed, a diuretic be one of them.
Diuretics, which work by ridding the body of excess sodium and water, have long been used as a standard blood pressure medicine.
The study compared the generic diuretic chlorthalidone with two newer, more expensive blood pressure treatments, the ACE inhibitor lisinopril and the calcium channel blocker amlodipine.
The findings show a slightly greater percentage of patients got their blood pressure below 140/90, which was the goal of the study, when they used the diuretic compared to the two newer medicines.
Researchers also found the diuretic was better than the calcium channel blocker in preventing heart failure and better than the ACE inhibitor in preventing stroke, heart failure and chest pains.
A third blood pressure drug, the alpha blocker doxazosin, was dropped from the study more than two years ago because it proved significantly less effective than diuretic treatment