NIH Program To Educate Doctors About Blood Pressure Drugs
NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on Wednesday announced it will launch a three-year project to encourage the use of the most effective blood pressure medications, CQ HealthBeat reports. Under the program, 150 doctors in 34 states and Washington, D.C., will educate other physicians about the findings of a hypertension study called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial.
According to NHLBI, the study found that diuretics generally are more effective at treating high blood pressure than newer, more expensive drugs. According to the study, patients taking newer alpha blockers "had 25% more cardiovascular events and were twice as likely to be hospitalized for heart failure as those taking the diuretic."
NIH created the program because many physicians still are unaware of the study, even though the findings are three years old and have led to the revision of clinical practice guidelines. According to NHLBI, program educators expect to reach about 30,000 physicians by September 2006.
NHLBI Director Elizabeth Nabel said, "It often takes years for the results of major studies to become part of standard health care." She added, "The results of ALLHAT and the clinical guidelines could have an enormous impact on the health of millions of Americans. We are confident that by playing a more active role in sharing the information, we will be able to put the results into action more quickly and more effectively" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 2/2).