Three drugs prove significantly better than one in lowering blood pressure
A new study is reporting successful trial results from a new blood pressure treatment that combines low doses of three different currently available hypertension drugs into a single pill. The finding in the newly-published research is hoped to change worldwide guidelines for the optimal way to best treat the millions of people suffering from high blood pressure.
The general process for managing a patient suffering from hypertension involves a doctor starting treatment on one drug and slowly increasing the dose, or adding other medications, over time to find the safest and most effective way to reduce blood pressure. Ruth Webster, from the The George Institute for Global Health, argues this process is costly, complicated and time-consuming.
"Patients are brought back at frequent intervals to see if they are meeting their targets with multiple visits required to tailor their treatments and dosage," explains Webster. "This is not only time inefficient, it's costly. We also know that many doctors and patients find it too complicated and often don't stick to the process. This new approach is much simpler and it works."
The new approach involves what the researchers refer to as a "Triple Pill." This new formulation contains half doses of three different hypertension drugs: telmisartan (20 mg), amlodipine (2.5 mg), and chlorthalidone (12.5 mg).
The formulation was trialed in 700 hypertension patients with an average age of 56 and an average blood pressure of 154/90. The cohort was split into two groups, one receiving the new Triple Pill and the other embarking on a normal treatment plan.
The results were significantly positive with the control group receiving the regular treatments only displaying an average success rate of 40 to 55 percent, but 70 percent of the Triple Pill cohort achieved a target blood pressure rate of 140/60 or less. Six months later an impressive 83 percent of the Triple Pill group were still successfully receiving the new treatment.
"The World Heart Federation has set an ambitious goal that by 2025 there will be a 25 per cent reduction in blood pressure levels globally," adds Anushka Patel, a principle investigator on the recent trial. "The Triple Pill could be a low cost way of helping countries around the world to meet this target."
One of the clever aspects of this new treatment is that by combining these three medications at half-doses, the researchers managed to avoid patients suffering from negative side-effects from any individual drug. All the beneficial blood pressure reducing effects were prominent without any major safety issues, making this appear an ideal preliminary treatment method for people initially presenting to a clinician with hypertension problems.
The researchers are now planning on promoting the results to doctors and investigating how cost-effective the new drug formulation will be to roll out broadly in the near future.
The research was published in the journal JAMA.