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Angiotensin Converter Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can now be added to the drug arsenal for the prevention of heart disease in people with diabetes.
Research presented at the American Heart Association's annual science meeting in Atlanta demonstrated that people with clogged arteries and diabetes reduced their risk of heart attacks, stroke or dying from heart disease by 22 percent when they took the ACE inhibitor ramipril (Altace). Patients taking Altace were also less likely to need bypass surgery or angioplasty, to be diagnosed with diabetes or to suffer complications of diabetes.
Physicians have previously prescribed aspirin and beta-blockers for the prevention of heart disease in people with diabetes.
Altace was tested on 9,500 men and women in North and South America and Europe. None of the volunteers had previous heart failure. The researchers calculated that it would be necessary to treat 1,000 people for four years to protect 70 of them from heart attacks, strokes and death.
Altace's main side effect is a cough, which is common with ACE inhibitors. Other brands of ACE inhibitors include Capoten, Vasotec, Prinivel, Lotensin, Monopril, Univasc, Accupril and Mavik.
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