January 14, 2011

It Takes Two Meds to Control Blood Pressure

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with high blood pressure who are given combined drug therapy from the start of treatment respond better than patients given single-drug treatment (monotherapy), according to a new study. Additionally, those who later switch from single-drug treatments to combination therapy improve their response, but not to the same level as those who began with combination therapy.

All patients in the study had high systolic blood pressure. The researchers compared the drugs aliskiren and amlodipine, with patients assigned to monotherapy with either drug or a combination of both drugs for 16 weeks. After those 16 weeks, those on monotherapy switched to combination therapy while those on combination therapy continued their treatment.

The researchers found that patients given initial combination therapy had a mean 6"¢5 mm Hg greater reduction in mean systolic blood pressure compared to the monotherapy groups. At 24 weeks, when all patients were on combination treatment, the difference had decreased to 1"¢4 mm Hg.

Adverse events such as oedema and low blood pressure (hypotension) caused similar numbers of patients (between 14 percent and 18 percent) to withdraw from each of the three groups.

"We believe that routine initial reduction in blood pressure (>150 mm Hg) with a combination such as aliskiren plus amlodipine can be recommended," the authors were quoted as saying.

SOURCE: The Lancet, published online January 12, 2011