This site is intended for health professionals only

Heart drug may aid elderly exercise

A drug which helps heart conditions may improve the quality of elderly people's lives, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Dundee undertook a trial involving 130 older people from the Tayside area who had difficulties managing with day-to-day activities.

The results, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, show those who were prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drug called perindopril had a much larger exercise capacity after 20 weeks.

The drug is commonly used to treat hypertension and heart failure, and the trial was funded by the Scottish government's Chief Scientist Office.

Professor Marion McMurdo, head of the ageing and health unit at Dundee University's school of medicine, said the discovery is "tremendously important".

She said: "It will be of interest to all clinicians involved in the care of older people and provides further encouragement about the possibility of slowing decline and disability in later life.

"We found that the people who had been given the drug could walk on average 30 metres further in six minutes than those who had been given the placebo.

"This is a level of improvement in exercise capacity that is equivalent to that reported after six months of exercise training.

"It may make an important difference for a growing sector of the population in which people might find it difficult to sustain that level of exercise."

University of Dundee

Copyright © PA Business 2007