Most Popular BP Drugs Might Not Be the Best

Millions of Americans take an ACE inhibitor to help curb their high blood pressure — in fact, these drugs are the most widely used antihypertensives in America.

However, a new international study of nearly 5 million patients is casting doubt on the notion that the drugs are as effective as another class of blood pressure medicines. Common ACE inhibitors include drugs such as benazepril, captopril, enalapril, fosinopril and lisinopril, among others.

The new study should “help guide physicians in their clinical decision-making,” said study author Dr. George Hripcsak. He’s chair of biomedical informatics at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City.

American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines recommend starting blood pressure treatment with any drug from five different classes of medications. Those classes include: thiazide diuretics; ACE inhibitors; angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs); dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers and non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers.

To find out how often these medicines are prescribed, Hripcsak’s team tracked data on nearly 5 million patients across four countries — Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

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