Genetics May Affect BP Drug Effects

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Researchers have found a genetic link that may explain why the effectiveness of blood pressure (BP) medications varies between patients. The finding brings researchers closer to developing targeted therapies for patients with high BP. Identifying genes that determine a person's response to BP medications is vital for more effective therapies and for understanding the causes of high BP.

Researchers have discovered a region in chromosome 2 that is linked to a specific type of high BP that does not respond to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or beta-blockers, 2 of the most commonly prescribed BP medications. The report of these findings was presented on September 23, 2005, at the American Heart Association's annual high BP research conference.

The study included 2142 Caucasian families with severe hypertension. The drugs the patients were currently using were noted, as well as the results of treatment. Researchers found 89 pairs of siblings who did not respond to ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers. Using DNA samples from these patients, the researchers were able to locate an area on chromosome 2 that appeared to be key in causing high BP in these patients. Researchers hope that identifying the genes that are implicated in drug resistance will assist physicians in treating certain patients by avoiding the therapies resisted by the genetic difference.