In a recent study, University of Manchester researchers found that more than one-third of 1,400 people with high blood pressure have not been taking their blood pressure medication.
High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for health loss and premature death globally.
Although treatment is proven to be effective, target blood pressures are only achieved in 40-50% of patients.
This is likely to be largely caused by high numbers of patients not taking their medicines correctly, or at all.
In the study, the scientists have used a mass-spectrometry technique to examine blood and urine samples from almost 1,400 people in the UK and Czech Republic.
They found that non-adherence to the blood pressure lowering drugs was high at 41.6% in the UK and 31.5% in the Czech Republic.
Moreover, with each additional prescription, the rate of non-adherence increased by 85% and 77% respectively.
The team suspected that some patients haven’t’ been taking their medications on a regular basis but this analysis shows how high that figure is.
Clearly, the more blood pressure lowering drugs are prescribed, the higher the risk that the patients will not be taking them on a regular basis.
The study also showed that diuretics are particularly poorly taken.
The researchers believe that they can develop even better formulae to estimate the risk of not taking blood pressure lowering drugs without a need of a urine/blood analysis.
This will be particularly useful in countries with limited resources.
“Not all countries will have sufficient expertise and the financial capacity to invest in technology that we are using.”
Professor Maciej Tomaszewski from The University of Manchester led the study.
The paper is published in the journal Hypertension.
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