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Blood-Pressure Drug Approved to Prevent Stroke, Heart Attack

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Altace also could someday prove to be an important treatment option for people with diabetes, Gregory tells WebMD. In the study, there appeared to be about a 30% reduction in the formation of adult diabetes, he explains. The study was not designed to confirm this benefit, but the company, along with other drugmakers, now intends to investigate whether Altace can prevent the onset of adult diabetes, he says.

But the importance of reducing the risk of even stroke alone cannot be underestimated. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the top cause of disability in the U.S., and the No. 3 cause of death. Strokes affect at least 600,000 Americans each year and account for about 150,000 deaths.

Still, as with any drug, there are some potential side effects to be considered, the FDA says. For example, as with all other ACE inhibitors, the drug should not be used by pregnant women. Common side effects include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and dry coughing, the FDA says.

To inform doctors about the drug's benefits, Edward Reilly -- vice president of Monarch Pharmaceuticals, the wholly owned subsidiary of King that is responsible for making and selling Altace -- says the company plans to relaunch Altace in early November. The drug will now be co-marketed with Wyeth-Ayerst, a subsidiary of the drug-making giant American Home Products, he says.

The cost of the drug will amount to about $1 a day, which "is little to pay for alleviating a lot concern," he tells WebMD.

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