To get blood pressure under control, combination of medicines may be best

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Millions of Americans take medications for hypertension but do not achieve control of their blood pressure. Single-tablet combinations of drugs may be what it takes to get blood pressure under control, even in people with moderate hypertension, according to results from a new international study involving more than 10,700 people with high blood pressure.

Just six months of treatment was enough to bring the blood pressure of 73 percent of patients into an acceptable range, with an average reading of 132/74 mmHg. Thats a near-doubling of the proportion that started the study with their hypertension under control -- despite the fact that nearly all patients came into the study on other medication before switching to one of the two-drug combinations used in the study.

A year later, after 18 months of treatment, patients continued to have good blood pressure control. In fact, more than 80 percent of participants from the United States achieved control, with a mean systolic blood pressure of 129mmHg. This is exceptional news in that only 36 percent of study subjects in the U.S. treated by clinicians achieve a blood pressure of 140/90.

The news was also good among people with diabetes or kidney disease who need to aim for lower blood pressures than others in order to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, but who often have a harder time getting their BP down. People with diabetes in the study achieved a mean systolic BP of 131 mmHg while those with chronic kidney disease were at 136 mmHg. These groups also saw sustained blood pressure control.

There were few side effects in the study volunteers, despite the fact that doses were increased steadily. Only 1.8 percent of patients had an episode where their blood pressure dropped too low a potential effect of aggressive BP treatment.

These data suggest strongly that single tablets containing two drugs will control the vast majority of patient

Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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