A new study has found that single tablets containing two drugs may be the key when it comes to controlling increasing blood pressure in people with even moderate hypertension.
The international study named ACCOMPLISH (Avoiding Cardiovascular Events through Combination Therapy in Patients Living with Systolic Hypertension) was conducted by a team of researchers led by Ken Jamerson at the University of Michigan Medical School.
As part of the study, researchers examined 10,700 people with high blood pressure who underwent treatment with single-tablet combination to compare the impact of two different two-drug combinations on the long-term health of a global sample of people with hypertension.
The trial randomly assigned patients to one of two drug combinations. Both combinations contained a drug called benazepril, which belongs to a class of medicines known as ACE inhibitors. The other drug in one of the combinations is a diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide. In the other combination pill, it's a drug called amlodipine, one of a class of medicines called calcium channel blockers.
Researchers found that just six months of treatment brought the blood pressure of 73 percent of patients into an acceptable range, with an average reading of 132/74 mmHg.
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.
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, which is a potential effect of aggressive BP treatment.
"These data suggest strongly that single tablets containing two drugs will control the vast majority of patients who are taking medication but have not achieved ideal blood pressure. These data may affect the blood pressure control of over 38 million Americans," Jamerson said.
Earlier studies have found that patients often have trouble taking the multiple medications they need. As a result, many companies have developed combination pills. The ACCOMPLISH data suggest that these combination tablets have the potential to improve control rates to over 80 percent.
The findings of the 18-month data were presented at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in Chicago while the six-month data was published in the journal Blood Pressure.