Single dose of this new drug effectively lowers blood pressure, study finds

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A recent study highlighted in the Journal of the American Medical Association presents promising findings on zilebesiran, a new treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension).

Conducted by George L. Bakris, M.D., and his team at the University of Chicago, the research explored the effectiveness and safety of zilebesiran through a phase 2 randomized trial.

The trial involved 377 participants, with 302 receiving zilebesiran and 75 receiving a placebo over six months.

Participants were divided into groups based on different dosing regimens of zilebesiran: 150 mg, 300 mg, or 600 mg administered either once every six months or, for the 300 mg dose, once every three months.

The results were encouraging. Compared to the placebo, zilebesiran significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP)—the top number in a blood pressure reading, which indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.

The reductions in 24-hour mean ambulatory SBP were notable across all zilebesiran doses compared to the placebo.

Specifically, the changes in SBP were -7.3 mm Hg for the 150 mg dose every six months, -10.0 mm Hg and -8.9 mm Hg for the 300 mg dose every three months or six months, and -8.9 mm Hg for the 600 mg dose every six months, against a +6.8 mm Hg change with placebo.

At the three-month mark, the decrease in SBP from baseline among those treated with zilebesiran was significant, with least-squares mean differences versus placebo of -14.1 mm Hg, -16.7 mm Hg, and -15.7 mm Hg for the 150 mg, 300 mg (every three or six months), and 600 mg doses, respectively.

The safety profile of zilebesiran was also examined. Over the six-month period, the occurrence of adverse events was slightly higher in the zilebesiran group (60.9%) compared to the placebo group (50.7%), but serious adverse events were less common among zilebesiran recipients (3.6%) than placebo recipients (6.7%).

This study is significant as it supports the potential of zilebesiran as an innovative treatment option for hypertension, a condition affecting millions worldwide and a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

The findings advocate for further research into zilebesiran, especially considering the need for new therapies that can effectively manage blood pressure with minimal side effects.

The research was sponsored by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the maker of zilebesiran, with several authors disclosing ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

This connection underscores the importance of ongoing investigation and independent validation to fully understand the benefits and risks of zilebesiran in treating hypertension.

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The research findings can be found in JAMA.

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