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Several large studies suggested that therapy with thiazide diuretics confer a particular benefit in reducing the risk of strokes that seem to be, at least to some extent, independent of the blood pressure–lowering effect. Such a cerebroprotective effect was documented not only with monotherapy but also when diuretics were used in combination with other drugs. The cerebroprotective effect does not seem to be shared by other drug classes, such as the β-blockers or the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in patients without manifest cardiovascular disease. Since stroke is one of the most devastating sequelae of high blood pressure, the data in this review article by Messerli et al strongly favor the use of low-dose diuretics either as initial therapy or in combination in all hypertensive patients at risk for cerebrovascular disease.
In This Issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(21):2550. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.21.2550
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