Pill seems to effectively prevent heart attacks

The drug Lotrel is a pill that combines two blood pressure drugs in one. Tests results of Lotrel were so effective at preventing heart attacks that studies were stopped early so results could be presented Monday in Chicago.

The study compared the use of two different combinations of blood pressure drugs, one with Lotrel, which contains an enzyme inhibitor, plus a calcium channel blocker. The other combination used an enzyme inhibitor and a diuretic, or water pill.

Patients on Lotrel had 20 percent fewer heart attacks or strokes.

Both combinations helped 73 percent of patients reach their blood pressure targets in 6 months. Doctors say this will change the treatment of hypertension.

"This strategy challenges our current guidelines in two important ways. One, the idea that monotherapy should be the rule is challenged. Two, our guidelines have recommended for most we use diuretics. That is challenged also, " said Dr. Kenneth Jamerson, University of Michigan.

The study was funded by the maker of Lotrel.

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