New combination pill ‘significantly lowers blood pressure’

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A new three-in-one pill to treat hypertension is significantly more effective than currently available treatments, ac.cording to a new report published in the journal JAMA.

A trial led by The George Institute for Global Health revealed that most patients – 70 per cent – reached blood pressure targets with the triple pill, compared to just over half receiving normal care.

The researchers gave patients three drugs, each at half dose, in a single pill for early treatment of high blood pressure. Traditionally patients begin treatment with one drug at a very low dose, which is increased over time with additional drugs added and increased in dosage to try to reach target.

The trial, which was conducted in Sri Lanka, enrolled 700 patients with an average age of 56 and blood pressure of 154/90 mm Hg.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either the combination pill or usual care – their doctor’s choice of blood pressure lowering medication. The Triple Pill, consisted of the blood pressure medications telmisartan (20 mg), amlodipine (2.5 mg), and chlorthalidone (12.5 mg).

Dr. Ruth Webster, the study’s lead, said: ‘It’s estimated more than a billion people globally suffer from high blood pressure with the vast majority having poorly controlled blood pressure. Our results could help millions of people globally reduce their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.’

‘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. 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.’

Compared with patients receiving usual care, a significantly higher proportion of patients receiving the triple pill achieved their target blood pressure of 140/90 or less (with lower targets of 130/80 for patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease).

At six months, 83 per cent of participants in the triple pill group were still receiving the combination pill compared to the majority of patients in the usual-care group still receiving only one and only one third receiving two or more blood-pressure-lowering drugs.

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