Combining medication that lowers blood pressure with medication that lowers cholesterol reduced first-time strokes by 44%, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018.
Seventy-five percent of strokes are first-time strokes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol both increase the risk for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death in America.
It's not known whether combining drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels can protect individuals from stroke.
Now, a study involving 12,705 participants from 21 countries has shown that individually, drugs that lower blood pressure or cholesterol do indeed reduce stroke risk, but when combined, they offer even greater protection.
Taking daily doses of two blood pressure drugs ( fixed dose Candesartan and Hydrochlorothiazide ) along with a cholesterol-lowering drug ( low-dose Rosuvastatin ), proved to be the most effective, cutting first-time strokes by 44% among patients at intermediate risk for heart disease.
For those with very high blood pressure ( 143.5 mm Hg or higher ) taking 16 milligrams of Candesartan plus 12.5 milligrams of Hydrochlorothiazide every day reduced stroke by 42%.
Compared with a placebo, stroke was reduced by 30% among participants taking daily doses of 10 milligrams of Rosuvastatin.
These results have indicated that to prevent stroke in those at moderate risk, blood pressure lowering plus cholesterol-lowering should be considered in those with elevated blood pressure, and cholesterol-lowering should definitely be considered for all.
The findings come from the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation Study ( HOPE ), a large, international study focused on heart disease and stroke prevention.
The average age of the participants was 66 years; 46% were women, and 166 strokes occurred during an average follow-up of 5.6 years.
At the start of the study, the average blood pressure was 138/82 mm Hg.
A normal blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mm Hg. ( Xagena )
Source: International Stroke Conference, 2018