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In Brief: Calcium channel blocker study

Executive Summary

Calcium channel blocker study: CCB use in hypertensives "may actually increase the risk of heart attack by 60%" compared to beta blocker or diuretic therapy, according to a University of Washington study released March 10. The retrospective study compares 623 hypertensives who had heart attacks between 1986 and 1993 with a random sample of 2,032 hypertensive patients in the Group Health Cooperative. In the group of patients who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease, "the risk of heart attack was increased by about 60% among those who took either a calcium channel blocker alone or a calcium channel blocker plus a diuretic, compared with those who took a diuretic alone," UW says. In the group administered a CCB or a beta blocker, "calcium channel blockers were again associated with about a 60% increase in the risk of heart attack," UW says. Also, "at the highest prescribed doses, the risk of heart attack among those on calcium channel blockers was almost twice the risk in those on beta blockers." The UW study was funded by the National Institutes of Health...

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