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Popular Blood Pressure Medicine May Do More Harm Than Good

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"At the moment, we don't know what studies are included in ... [this] analysis and don't know what the individual results were. When one looks at this, it may be that the results are largely driven by the results of one study, so we don't have the answers yet ... We just can't act on rumors," he says, adding that the FDA will await publication of the results before acting.

"There have been lots of claims about calcium channel blockers in the past," Temple tells WebMD, but those claims, he says, "were based on observational data which were absolutely unreproducible." Pahor and his colleagues also did those studies. Pahor says the criticism of those early trials prompted the decision to do this more extensive analysis.

"I would hate to think that these drugs would be stopped because people think there is something wrong with the drugs, or because they think the drugs are dangerous," says Temple.

Medical experts agree and urge caution to patients considering stopping their blood pressure medicine due to this one study. In a press release from Wake Forest, Bruce M. Psalty, MD, PhD, a co-author of the new study and a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and health services at the University of Washington, said: "In all instances, patients should consult their physicians about any potential changes in their antihypertensive therapy. If patients are not taking a proven therapy such as low-dose diuretics, it is reasonable for them to ask their physicians, 'Why not?'"

 

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