Calcium Channel Blockers Reduce Stroke and Heart Trouble in Elderly People with Diabetes

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Treatment with nitrendipine, a calcium channel blocker, was proven to be beneficial in older patients with diabetes and hypertension.

Investigators from the Systolic Hypertension in Europe Trial and the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, studied the effects of nitrendipine on patients with and without diabetes. The results were published in the March 4 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, 4,695 patients who were 60 years in age or older, were observed. The patients had to have systolic blood pressure of 160 to 219 mm Hg and diastolic pressure below 95 mm Hg. Four hundred ninety-two of the patients (10.5 percent) had diabetes. All patients were randomly assigned to receive active treatment with 10 to 40 mg. nitrendipine or placebo.

Over a two-year period, patients with diabetes who received nitrendipine reduced overall mortality by 55 percent, mortality from cardiovascular disease by 76 percent, fatal and nonfatal strokes by 73 percent and all cardiovascular events combined by 69 percent.

In patients who did not have diabetes, nitrendipine reduced all cardiovascular events combined by 26 percent and reduced fatal and nonfatal strokes by 38 percent.

The study contradicts an earlier report which suggested that calcium channel blockers were harmful to patients with diabetes and hypertension.

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