Drug Combos May Be Unsafe

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Older women who take diuretics with calcium channel blockersmay be increasing their risk of death, compared with takingdiuretics plus beta-blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme(ACE) inhibitors. The findings are based on a study of >30,000women reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association(December 15, 2004). The 6-year study included 30,219 women aged 50 to 79 with hypertension but no history ofcardiovascular disease, including 18,969 who were taking atleast 1 blood pressure drug.

The number of heart-related deaths was small—specifically,31 out of 1223 women taking the calcium channel blocker combination,versus 18 out of 1380 on the beta-blocker combinationand 17 out of 1413 on the ACE inhibitor combo. Lead authorSylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, advised women on the first 2-drug combination to speak with their physicians about why theyprescribed calcium channel blockers.