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Stroke drug 'could harm patients'

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Stroke victims could potentially be harmed by a drug used to lower blood pressure in the aftermath of an attack, research suggests.

The study, carried out by Norwegian-based scientists, found that the drug candesartan has no benefits for patients. The report concluded that it should not be used to treat people within a week of them suffering a stroke.

A statement by the report’s authors said: “Our results showed no beneficial effect of blood pressure lowering treatment with the angiotensin-receptor blocker candesartan in patients with acute stroke and raised blood pressure. Other trials are ongoing, but until these trials have been completed we see no place for routine blood pressure lowering treatment in the acute phase of stroke.”

Stroke physician professor Tony Rudd, of Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in central London, said having high blood pressure immediately after a stroke can help some patients recover.

Suffering high blood pressure could show that the body is responding to the stroke by increasing the flow of blood to the area of the brain concerned, according to Prof Rudd.

He added: “It’s now very helpful to hear that this drug is not beneficial and may be harmful. It gives us guidance that we should not be treating high blood pressure after a stroke.”

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