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Media Availability: Diuretics Better than Other High Blood Pressure Medications in Preventing Heart Failure

Embargoed for Release:
May 1, 2006, 4:00 PM EDT

Diuretic medications are more effective than other high blood pressure medications in preventing heart failure, at least in the short term, according to new data from a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute clinical study. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart failure, a condition where the heart is weakened and does not effectively pump blood throughout the body.

"Role of Diuretics in the Prevention of Heart Failure," will be published in the May 9 online edition of Circulation.

Dr. Jeffrey Cutler, NHLBI project director for the study, which is called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), is available for interviews. In the first year of treatment, participants who received ACE-inhibitors or calcium channel blockers were two times more likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure than those who were taking a diuretic. In later years, the differences between the study groups were reduced, such that the rate of developing serious heart failure resulting in death or hospitalization was about the same for participants taking ACE inhibitors or diuretics, and those on calcium channel blockers had a 22 percent higher risk.

To schedule interviews, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301-496-4236.