The effects of antihypertensive drugs on mortality from stroke, coronary artery disease (CAD), and nonvascular causes have been studied in 14 trials involving more than 37,000 patients. In the treated patients, blood pressure was 5 to 6 mm Hg lower than that in placebo-treated patients, and whereas mortality from stroke was reduced by 42%, CAD mortality was reduced by only 14%. A major reason for this lack of effect on CAD mortality is apparently the adverse effects of the primary drugs used in these trials (diuretics and beta blockers) on glucose tolerance, lipid levels, and insulin resistance. The angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors favorably influence many CAD risk factors, and their use can be expected to reduce CAD mortality in patients treated for hypertension.
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