Battle of the High Blood Pressure Drugs
WebMD News Archive
According to a press release on the subject, the NHLBI is advising high
blood pressure patients who take an alpha-blocker to consult with their doctors
about a possible alternative. If a patient is just starting drug treatment, an
alpha-blocker may not be the best choice for initial therapy. Other
alpha-blockers in the same class as Cardura are Hytrin and Minipres. Ford
doesn't say their recommendations apply to all alpha-blockers, but just that
Cardura was chosen as a "representative member of that class of
But that's not the same as throwing the baby out with the bath water.
"The last thing we would want to suggest is that patients should stop this
drug," Jackson T. Wright Jr., MD, a vice-chairman of the study's steering
committee told WebMD in a previous interview. "Patients need to contact
their doctor to make sure they're on the best therapy for their high blood
pressure." He says the findings do not necessarily mean the drug should not
be used to control blood pressure, and they do not address the use of the drug
for the prostate, a primary use. Wright is also a professor of medicine at Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Louis Lasagna, MD, of Tufts University Medical School in Boston, called the
findings "persuasive" with "important implications" in an
accompanying editorial. He adds that, all else being equal, the diuretic, a
very inexpensive drug, "appears to be a better choice than
Pfizer, the manufacturer of Cardura, in a written statement has supported
"the NHLBI decision to discontinue the Cardura arm" of the study.
- According to a new study, an alpha-blocker drug, called Cardura, is less
effective for treating high blood pressure than the diuretic chlorthalidone,
and Cardura does not protect patients from developing heart failure as well as
- Patients taking Cardura, or other alpha-blockers Hytrin and Minipres, may
want to consult with their physician about treatment, but these findings do not
mean a patient should be taken off these medications.
- Researchers cannot explain these study results, but suggest that people
with high blood pressure try diuretics first.