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July 28, 2008 Contact
New combination of drug therapies found to significantly lower blood
pressure in blacks
Wayne State University researcher presented findings to the National
DETROIT— African-Americans have a higher risk of developing high blood
pressure, the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, than other ethnic
groups according to the American Heart Association. A research study
performed at Wayne State University has found a new combination of drugs, a
calcium blocker and an Angiotensin II Receptor blocker (ARB), to have the most
significant drop in blood pressure in the first large-scale clinical trial in blacks.
John Flack, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at
WSU’s School of Medicine and lead investigator of the research project,
presented his findings to the National Medical Association on July 26. Dr. Flack
spoke on a clinical trial for the combination of amlodipine and valsartan. The
study showed significant decreases in high blood pressure for patients of African
“In the Ex-STAND Study involving almost 500 blacks, mostly from the U.S.,
including 17 percent of Hispanic origin, we showed in a randomized trial that the
combination of amlodipine and valsartan lowered blood pressure more effectively
than amlodipine monotherapy both before and after the optional addition of the
diuretic hydrochlorothiazide,” said Dr. Flack. “This is an important trial for black
populations given that many will need combination therapy to attain blood
(2) Flack Blood Pressure Medication Study
pressure control and frequently in persons with diabetes and/or chronic kidney
disease, a blocker of the renin angiotensin will also be needed.”
The long available combination of calcium blockers with angiotensin
converting enzyme inhibitors has not been well-tolerated by these patients
because of severe side effects including angioedema (swelling of the skin and
mucosa) and cough caused by the ACE inhibitor component. In Flack’s new
study, these side effects did not exist.
The study showed that black patients treated with the drug combination
experienced a significantly higher reduction in systolic blood pressure than those
on amlodipine alone. This marked the “most significant” blood pressure drop
seen to date in such clinical studies, said the drug manufacturer, Novartis.
“The large blood pressure reductions seen in this trial were experienced by
severe patients who have the most difficulty getting their blood pressure to
healthy levels,” said Flack. “These data may have a real impact on helping
“Wayne State University is one of the eight Centers for Urban and African
American Health selected by the National Institutes of Health,” commented Dr.
Hilary Ratner, vice president for Research at WSU. “Wayne State researchers
across our campus collectively contribute to research devoted to improve the
health of African Americans. Dr. Flack’s leadership in this Center, along with his
recent research findings, truly exemplifies Wayne State’s commitment to the
community, health disparities and our urban mission,” Ratner added.
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world.
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