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Much discussion at the 18th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) in New York centered on the new guidelines released by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure just before the meeting. According to the guidelines, most patients will need 2 or more drugs to reach the new, more stringent blood pressure goals and, in those with more severe hypertension, combination therapy may be appropriate initial therapy.

One ASH satellite symposium focused on the rationale for combination therapy and how it can best be initiated. The symposium, entitled "Achieving Blood Pressure Goals: Is Fixed-Dose Combination Therapy the Answer?" was sponsored by the American Society of Hypertension and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

George L. Bakris, MD

, chaired the symposium. Dr. Bakris is professor, Departments of Preventive and Internal Medicine, vice-chairman, Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke?s Medical Center, and director, Rush Hypertension Clinical Research Center.

Also on the faculty were

Thomas D. Giles,MD,

professor of medicine and director of cardiovascular research, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans;

Kenneth A. Jamerson, MD, associate professor of internal medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center,Ann Arbor; and

Michael A. Weber, MD,

associate dean for clinical investigation and professor of medicine, State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn.

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