In the biggest breakthrough, the incidence of the disease was found to have been cut to half by a combination of drugs that keeps blood pressure in check. The study involving about 6,000 patients over six years in many countries showed that strokes were cut by at least a quarter among patients given the drugs.
The drugs are inexpensive and easily available. Use of the drugs cut both strokes and heart attacks and consequently deaths. The drugs cost only about Rs 300 a month. That was found to be true for all patients regardless of ethnicity, sex and age.
The new study has revealed that over 5,00,000 of these could be prevented by using a combination of Perindopril (a high-blood pressure medication) and Indapamide (a diuretic). Additionally, the study showed that these drugs could reduce the risk for secondary stroke by as much as 50 per cent. There was a 38 per cent reduction in fatal strokes in patients using the Perindopril-based therapy.
The study shows that even patients with normal blood pressure would benefit from this therapy. With the finding that normal patients can be benefited, people can greatly cut their exposure to strokes and heart attacks by taking these simple medicines as preventive. The drugs identified can begin to work with a single dose within 24 hours and now there is a 50 % chance that such secondary strokes can be prevented.