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Certain blood pressure-lowering drugs reduce diabetes risk in Hispanic patients

atients from 14 countries - including about 8,000 Hispanics - for two to five years. The study enrolled more Hispanic patients than any other hypertension trial to date, Cooper-DeHoff said, and included Hispanic participants from the mainland United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Panama and El Salvador.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive a sustained-release form of the calcium antagonist verapamil or the beta-blocker atenolol. Both groups also could receive the ACE inhibitor trandolapril and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide.

Researchers found that both treatment strategies controlled high blood pressure exceptionally well, safely lowering it below 140/90 in 72 percent of INVEST participants, who were mostly elderly. On average, it took at least two medications to lower blood pressure in Hispanic patients, compared with three in non-Hispanic patients.

Overall, Hispanic patients had a 19 percent increased risk of developing diabetes during the study's follow-up period, but those in the verapamil group were actually 15 percent less likely to develop diabetes, and the addition of trandolapril to verapamil was linked to the decreased risk.

UF researchers said that one or two out of every 100 hypertensive heart disease patients treated with a verapamil SR-trandolapril strategy for at least three years could potentially avoid diabetes - an advance that would affect thousands.

Use of ACE inhibitors has been shown to improve the body's ability to use sugar for fuel, Cooper-DeHoff said.

"Because trandolapril was used more frequently in verapamil strategy, this is likely why we saw a reduced rate of new diabetes," she said, adding that preventing diabetes would have tremendous public health implications and could greatly cut related health-care costs.

UF researchers also will continue to analyze DNA they have collected from Hispanic study participants to evaluate the role of genes and
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Contact: Melanie Fridll Ross
ufcardiac@aol.com
352-690-7051
University of Florida
22-May-2006


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