A new study in China has revealed that folic acid could reduce the risk of stroke, especially for adults with hypertension. It has been observed that the combined use of enalapril, an anti-hypertension drug, and folic acid is effective in reducing the risk of first stroke. The study has been published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held from March 14 to 16 in San Diego.
The efficacy of enalapril plus folic acid was compared to the efficacy of enalapril alone for reducing the risk of first stroke by Yong Huo, M.D., from the Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues. 20,702 adults in China with hypertension and without any history of stroke or heart disease were included for the study. The participants were randomly given either a single pill combination containing enalapril and folic acid (10,348 participants) or a tablet with enalapril alone (10,354 participants).
A median treatment duration of 4.5 years revealed that enalapril-folic acid group had a significant risk reduction for first stroke as compared to those who received enalapril alone. 282 participants (2.7 percent) in the enalapril-folic acid group suffered first stroke as compared to 355 participants (3.4 percent) in the enalapril group, during the study. This represents an absolute risk reduction of 0.7 percent and a relative risk reduction of 21 percent.
Those in enalapril-folic acid group also had reduced risk of first ischemic stroke and composite cardiovascular events consisting of cardiovascular death, MI, and stroke. However, no significant differences were found in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, MI, and all-cause deaths. The study authors wrote “These findings are consistent with benefits from folate use among adults with hypertension and low baseline folate levels.”