Three "simple" methods to prevent heart attacks and stroke, are found by the research team from the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
They studied more than 12,000 patients from 21 countries to evaluate drugs that can prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD). "These are incredibly important findings with potential for significant global impact," said principal investigator Dr. Salim Yusuf said. "If just 10 percent of the world's population at intermediate risk of CVD is impacted, we're talking about 20 to 30 million people who could be helped by these drugs."
‘Patients with hypertension should not only lower their blood pressure but also consider taking a statin.’
The three methods examined included two forms of therapy: Statins, a group of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and antihypertensives, a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. In addition, a combination of statins and antihypertensives was reviewed. Statins proved to significantly and safely reduce CVD events by 25 percent in patients at intermediate risk without CVD.
Antihypertensives did not reduce major CVD events overall in the population studied, but did reduce such events in the group of people with hypertension, but not in those without hypertension. When combined, statins and antihypertensives reduced CVD events by 30 percent--with a 40 percent benefit in those with hypertension, suggesting that patients with hypertension should not only lower their BP but also consider taking a statin.
HOPE-3's findings will have a major influence on primary care in developed nations, where statins and antihypertensives are inexpensive, Yusuf added. While still relatively inexpensive in developing nations, the drugs are less affordable in relation to income. Still, Yusuf said the study's results hold promise everywhere as the price of these drugs start to come down. The studies are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.