Sunday, January 18, 2009

Drug pairing boosts heart risk

From the Toronto Star:
Heart patients on a popular combination of high blood pressure drugs have an increased risk of heart attacks and other ailments from the coupled medications and should see their doctor as soon as possible, new guidelines from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation say.

Taking a cue from a massive study released last year, the foundation's recommendations should all but eliminate the practice of prescribing so-called ACE inhibitors and ARBs together, organization officials said.

"When you put the two drugs together, you don't get a synergy of effect; all you do is get the side effects of both adding up," said Dr. Sheldon Tobe, a foundation spokesperson.

"So there's a doubling up of the side effects as opposed to a doubling up of the benefits," he said.

The study looked at nearly 26,000 patients and tested the effectiveness of the two drugs separately and together.

It determined that the treatment combo produced only minimal improvements in blood pressure, Tobe said. The risks, however, of heart attacks and kidney disease increased. ...more

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