A new 'stepped care' approach has been developed by scientists to tackle uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust have successfully improved blood pressure control among patients with severe intolerance to antihypertensive medication by using medicines in unconventional ways and treating patients with a 'stepped care' approach.
The study devised a novel treatment strategy for 55 patients, involving fractional dosing with tablets, liquid formulations of antihypertensive drugs and patch formulations of antihypertensive drugs - plus use of unlicensed drugs that lower blood pressure.
After six months, blood pressure was significantly reduced among patients on the novel treatment strategy and the results were sustained.
The patients experienced no debilitating side effects. Lead author Melvin Lobo of the Queen Mary University of London said this was an entirely new concept in tackling high blood pressure, adding that many of their patients had reported negative experiences with their doctors after complaining about drug side effects.
Lobo said that blood pressure control was vital as a means of avoiding serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke, adding that anti-hypertensive medication side effects are common and can be very debilitating.
She further said that patients will not have to suffer such side effects when there were alternative ways of treating them. Lobo urged clinicians to be more sympathetic towards the patients, who report drug side effects.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.