Heart Beat February 2009 Issue

Heart Beat: 02/09

The combination of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor and a calcium channel blocker (CCB) proved more effective than an ACE inhibitor and a diuretic in reducing major cardiac events and mortality in a study of more than 11,000 men and women age 55 and older. The study, published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, was stopped early because the results of using the ACE inhibitor benazepril and the CCB amlodipine were so overwhelming. That combination of anti-hypertensive medications cut the risk of morbidity and mortality by 20 percent compared with the more conventional therapy of an ACE inhibitor and a diuretic, a common first-line approach against high blood pressure.

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