Safer Anti-Hypertensive Drugs
Researchers from the University of Washington compared the four main types
of antihypertensive drugs to determine which lowers the risk of stroke the most. They recommend the use of thiazide diuretics as a first line of treatment as an antihypertensive drug.
The main classes of drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure are thiazide diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors. When compared to a placebo, diuretic medications were shown to reduce risk of stroke but the drug has not been compared to the other classes of medication.
The new study looked at the records of 1,900 patients who took drugs to lower blood pressure. Researchers followed the patients over a period of seven and a half years and reported the incidence of ischemic stroke.
The highest risk of stroke was among those on beta-blockers. This was followed by those on calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, and then diuretics. Overall, among patients who were not known to have cardiovascular disease before the start of the study, the risk for stroke was 85 percent higher when taking an antihypertensive drug other than a thiazide diuretic. Risk remained higher even for patients taking two medications if a diuretic was not part of their regimen.