A new study is reporting what I’ve been telling my patients for years: generic blood pressure medications are as good as the far more costly brand name medications — plus, fewer deaths seen in the group taking no-brand-name diuretics after 8 to 13 years. Here are the details from HealthDay News:
Costly, brand-name blood pressure-lowering drugs are no better at preventing cardiovascular disease than older, generic diuretics, reveals long-term data from a large study.
It included more than 33,000 patients with high blood pressure who were randomly selected to take either a diuretic (chlorthalidone) or one of two newer drugs — a calcium blocker (amlodipine) or an ACE inhibitor (lisinopril).
Data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) released in 2002 showed that after four to eight years of follow-up, the diuretic was better than the calcium blocker in preventing heart failure and better than the ACE inhibitor in preventing stroke, heart failure and overall cardiovascular disease.
Differences between the drugs narrowed after eight to 13 years of follow-up, the findings show. However, the diuretic was still better in two areas. Compared with patients taking the diuretic, those in the ACE inhibitor group had a 20 percent higher death rate from stroke, and those in the calcium channel blocker group had a 12 percent higher rate of hospitalization and death because of heart failure.
The results were presented Friday at the China Heart Congress and International Heart Forum in Beijing last month.
“We are continuing to mine data that we collected during the trial,” Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System and chairman of ALLHAT, said in a university news release.
ALLHAT is sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more here about blood pressure medicines.