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New drugs to control high blood pressure may provide better control with fewer side effects, University of Utah Medical School officials say.

But researchers need more data.So 40 volunteers are being sought to participate in three drug trials by Dr. Martin C. Gregory, associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

He is studying the effects on high blood pressure of two particular types of drugs - angiotension converting enzyme inhibitors and calcium entry blockers.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta show that in 1986 more than 60 million American adults and children had or were being treated for high blood pressure.

"The incidence of death attributed to high blood pressure is decreasing, however, primarily because of improved treatment," Gregory said.

In many people, high blood pressure depends on the amount of salt in the body and the diet. Gregory wants to find out whether ACE inhibitors alter a patient's thirst or perception of taste, particularly for salt. If study results show the inhibitors do alter taste and thirst, they may have a previously unsuspected bearing on how the drugs work or how they should be adjusted to a patient's sense of taste and thirst, Gregory said.

Volunteers for the studies will be involved from 10 to 25 weeks and, in addition to being compensated for their time, will receive a free physical examination, laboratory work-up and electrocardiogram. Chest X-rays will be taken when applicable to the study.

Participants must be over age 21. Women should be post menopausal or have been sterilized.

For information call 581-3651.