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LONDON, Dec 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Researchers in London have halted a drug trial comparing blood-pressure lowering treatments because the new treatment was so markedly more effective.

The trial is part of the 19,000 patient Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT). This portion of the study has been comparing a new treatment strategy for hypertension against an old one, in order to discover which is better at preventing cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.

The older treatment is based on the beta-blocker, atenolol and the thiazide diuretic, bendroflumethiazide. The newer treatment uses the calcium channel blocker, amlodipine, and the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, perindopril.

The newer treatment was found to be sufficiently beneficial that the blood pressure part of trial was stopped. Patients will be advised of their treatment options.

Patients in the trail are advised to stay on their existing drugs until they see their trial physician, to ensure their blood pressure remains controlled. A sudden withdrawal of any treatment regimen could be harmful.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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