Researchers have found that a combination of two blood-pressure-lowering drugs cuts the risk of kidney disease by about 20 percent in type 2 diabetes patients.
In the ADVANCE study involving 11,140 diabetics, one group received a combination of two BP lowering drugs: the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor perindopril and the diuretic drug indapamide. The other group received inactive placebos.
An average of four years later, the rate of kidney disease was 21 percent less for patients receiving the combination drug therapy than in the placebo group.
In addition, patients who previously had early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease, kidney function returned to normal during treatment with blood pressure-lowering drugs.
"This research demonstrated that lowering blood pressure with an ACE inhibitor/diuretic combination prevents kidney complications, and even cause some early manifestations of kidney disease in people with diabetes regardless of whether their blood pressure is normal or elevated," said Vlado Perkovic, MBBS, PhD, of The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia, one of the study authors.
The drug combination reduced kidney disease events even in patients who did not initially have high blood pressure.
The lower the blood pressure level, the lower the risk of kidney disease-even at blood pressures below the currently accepted normal level.
Although more research is needed, these results raise the possibility that patients with type two diabetes should be considered for antihypertensive treatment even if they have normal blood pressure.
The study appears in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.