Blood pressure-lowering drugs should be given to lower the risk of heart disease, finds a major study led by Oxford University. Researchers have called for change in current rules that state only those having high blood pressure should be given the medication, so that people with normal blood pressure, but at risk of heart disease and stroke can also be saved.
If the suggestion of the researchers is approved then it would mean everyone over the age of 40 should take blood pressure lowering medication. The researchers said that the cost-effective drugs would be considered as cholesterol-busting statins that are offered to anyone having a 10% chance of heart trouble within the next 10 years.
Study’s lead researcher Professor Kazem Rahimi said that by asking to take blood pressure pill, millions of lives could be saved. “Our findings clearly show that treating blood pressure to a lower level than currently recommended could greatly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and potentially save millions of lives if the treatment was widely implemented”, affirmed Rahimi.
Rahimi said that the approach adopted for statins should also be taken up for blood pressure drugs. As per the researchers, a 10% threshold would be a good start, which would make 17 million Britons to be eligible to take the pills.
As per the current rules, most people are treated only if they have blood pressure of a reading of 140/90. But the researchers said that NICE, the NHS medicines watchdog, should cut the treatment threshold to 130/85 immediately and then scrap it off.
Anyone having 10% of cardiovascular risk within a decade should be eligible to start take blood-pressure lowering drugs. These pills work by helping blood vessels expand. In the study, the researchers have examined 123 previous studies, including more than 600,000 people, dating back 50 years.
The researchers have found that the treatment with any of the main classes of blood pressure lowering drugs significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure and early death. A spokesman for NICE said that it will go through the guidelines in June.