High blood pressure is the world’s leading killer but poor rates of blood pressure control remain common.
A recent study from the University of Sydney found a new strategy where patients are started on a pill containing four medicines, each at a quarter of their usual doses, is much more effective in getting blood pressure under control.
This novel combination of blood pressure medication brought blood pressure under control in 80% of participants in 12 weeks, compared to 60% in the control group who nonetheless had access to the best patient care.
Traditionally doctors have started with one drug and then follow up to consider adding or changing treatment—but this strategy is often not successful in practice and blood pressure control rates have remained stubbornly low for decades.
In the study, the team found that a single pill containing an ultra-low quadruple combination is much more effective than the traditional approach of starting with a single drug.
The study enrolled 591 participants with high blood pressure either in no treatment or single therapy across 10 centers in Australia.
The primary outcome was strongly reduced blood pressure, in the group starting on the quad-pill, at 12 weeks.
These differences were sustained, with blood pressure control still better with the quad-pill approach compared to the standard approach at 12 months, and no differences in side effects.
The finding demonstrated the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of this ultra-low-dose combination strategy—a potentially simple and scalable hypertension management strategy to treat hypertension.
The team says these kinds of strategies will only make a major impact on global health if they are available and affordable for patients most in need.
When scientists find treatments that are this effective, simple, and safe they must do their best to get them to those who can benefit most.
They say a simple and effective combination quad-pill strategy had the potential to impact people’s lives worldwide.
The study was published in The Lancet and conducted by Professor Clara Chow et al.
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