Starting treatment of blood pressure with two medicines rather than one produces better and faster results and fewer side effects according a new research.
The research, led by Cambridge in collaboration with the Universities of Dundee, Glasgow and the British Hypertension Society, challenges popular medical practice for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Doctors usually start treatment with one medicine and then add others over a period of months, if needed, to control blood pressure but this study shows that it is best to start treatment with two medicines together at the same time.
The two medicines can be incorporated into a single pill, simplifying things for patients who will still only have to take one pill. But by including two medicines in the same pill, they are taking a much more effective medicine with fewer side effects.
"This study is important and the findings could change the way we approach the treatment of high blood pressure," Prof Bryan Williams, of the British Hypertension Society, said.
The 'ACCELERATE' study of 1250 patients with hypertension shows that patients who start treatment with a single tablet containing a combination of drugs will have a 25pc better response during the first six months of treatment than patients receiving conventional treatment.
Still more remarkably, the blood pressure in the conventional treatment arm never caught up with the new treatment arm, even when all the patients in the study were being treated with the same combination of drugs.
The finding was published in the Lancet.