Study shows new promise for hypertension drug

The latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains some encouraging results from the Canadian-led, multinational HOPE Study (Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation). HOPE, conducted over a four and a half year period, involved more than 9,500 patients worldwide, with more than 60 percent of the patients from Canada.

According to the authors, the study showed that treatment with the anti-hypertensive medication ramipril reduced the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, and mortality by 22 per cent, in high-risk patients. Ramipril also reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 25 per cent, non-fatal heart attack by 20 per cent, and non-fatal stroke by 32 per cent. The results of the HOPE study also showed a 31 per cent reduction in the risk of onset of type II diabetes.

“If ramipril is widely used in high-risk patients, more than one million unnecessary deaths, heart attacks and strokes could be prevented worldwide each year,” said Dr. Salim Yusuf, chair of the HOPE Study and Professor of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The HOPE Study received financial support from Hoechst Marion Roussel, the manufacrers of ramipril, and from the Medical Research Council of Canada.