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New Hope for Patients with High Blood Pressure

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Triple combo blood pressure pill works, says study

Do you have high blood pressure that won't go away no matter what medicine your doctor prescribes for you? Here's the latest news on a new pill for patients with high blood pressure that could make the difference the next time you have your blood pressure checked.


High blood pressure is the most common medical condition facing most middle-aged adults. Depending on a patient's blood pressure numbers, he or she is typically categorized as having either normal blood pressure (120 or less/ and under 80 mm Hg), elevated blood pressure (120-129/ and over 80 mm Hg), stage 1 hypertension (130-139 or 80-89 mm Hg), or stage 2 hypertension (≥140 or ≥90 mm Hg).

The importance of treating high blood pressure is to prevent heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems. And while there are a number of commonly prescribed drugs for treating hypertension, not all patients benefit equally from them.

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However, according to a news release from the American College of Cardiology a new pill that is a combination of three blood pressure-lowering medications--referred to as "the Triple Pill"--significantly increases the chances that your hypertension can be controlled when other meds do not work.

"Most people--70 percent--reached blood pressure targets with the Triple Pill. The benefits were seen straight away and maintained until six months, whereas with usual care control rates were 55 percent at six months and even lower earlier in the trial," said Ruth Webster, MBBS, of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and lead author of the study. "Based on our findings, we conclude that this new method of using blood pressure-lowering drugs was more effective and just as safe as current approaches."

The approach of the trial study was to determine whether a combination of three previously prescribed hypertension meds given at lower dose together could provide easier care that was just as effective or better.

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In the trial, 700 patients--both previously treated and non-treated for hypertension--whose average age was 56 years and with an average blood pressure of 154/90 mm Hg, were randomly assigned to receive either the combination Triple Pill consisting of three blood pressure medications that work by relaxing blood vessels: telmisartan (20 mg), amlodipine (2.5 mg) and chlorthalidone (12.5 mg); or, were provided with typical hypertension treatment dependent upon their doctors usual choice of treatment and medication.

What the trial showed was that compared with patients receiving usual care (without the Triple Pill), a significantly higher proportion of patients receiving the Triple Pill achieved their target blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or less after six months into the study. More precisely, the average reduction in blood pressure was 8.7 mm Hg for participants receiving the Triple Pill and 4.5 mm Hg for those receiving usual care with the biggest difference in the two groups occurring within the first six weeks.

The researchers conducting the study believe that since each drug represents a different class of blood pressure medication and that since previous studies have shown that combining such drugs results in synergistic effects, that their study further demonstrates the effectiveness of this type of approach-particularly in countries where good medical care is not easily available.

"The most urgent need for innovative strategies to control blood pressure is in low- and middle-income countries," Webster said. "The Triple Pill approach is an opportunity to 'leap frog' over traditional approaches to care and adopt an innovative approach that has been shown to be effective."

The press release states that the researchers are now conducting a follow-up qualitative study to find out what participants and their doctors thought about using the Triple Pill, as well determining whether the Triple Pill is a cost-effective solution for blood pressure control.

For more about how to control your high blood pressure, here are some select science-backed hacks for lowering your blood pressure.

Reference: American College of Cardiology "Low-Dose 'Triple Pill' Lowers Blood Pressure More Than Usual Care"

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