In a recent study, researchers find combining drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol could reduce first-time strokes by 44%.
Previous research has shown that 75% of strokes are first-time strokes. It is the fifth leading cause of death in America.
Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
In the current study, the researchers examined data of 12,705 participants from 21 countries.
The data were from the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation Study, a large, international study focused on heart disease and stroke prevention.
The average age of the people was 66 years; 46% were women, and 166 strokes occurred during an average follow-up of 5.6 years.
At the start of the study, the average blood pressure of these people was 138/82 mm Hg. A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mm Hg.
The team found that individually, drugs that lower blood pressure or cholesterol do indeed reduce stroke risk.
But taking daily doses of two blood pressure drugs (fixed dose candesartan and hydrochlorothiazide) along with a cholesterol-lowering drug (low-dose rosuvastatin) could be effective in fight stroke.
This combination cut first-time strokes by 44% among patients at intermediate risk for heart disease.
Moreover, for people with very high blood pressure, taking 16 mg of candesartan plus 12.5 mg of hydrochlorothiazide every day could reduce stroke by 42%.
The researchers suggest that blood pressure lowering plus cholesterol-lowering should be considered for preventing stroke in people at moderate risk.
The researchers are now looking at developing a single pill that produces the same effects as taking multiple pills that lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.
The lead study author is Jackie Bosch, Ph.D., McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
The research was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2018.
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Source: American Heart Association.