The American Heart Association (AHA) journal Hypertension reported on a study that indicated small doses of blood pressure medications taken in combination may be more effective than a single medication dose.
“Widespread control of blood pressure is generally low, even in high-income countries,” Dr. Anthony Rodgers, study author and professor at The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, said in a release. “The largest global survey of hypertension patients showed 88 percent of those aware of hypertension are treated with medications, but only one in three were able to gain control of their blood pressure. Because high blood pressure is so common and serious, even small improvements in management can have a large impact on public health.”
Researchers took the results of 42 clinical trials with 20,284 participants and analyzed the results. The trials involved a variety of high blood pressure medications and in some cases, no medications. They found that two one-quarter doses of blood pressure lowering medications in combination were as effective as a standard dose of a single medication.
They also found that one-quarter doses of four medications in combination were nearly twice as effective as a single standard dose of one medication. In addition, the patients receiving two one-quarter dose medications in combination suffered from fewer side effects.
“This new approach to treatment needs more research before it can be recommended more widely,” Rodgers said in the release. “The findings have not yet been tested in large long-term trials. People should not reduce the doses of their current medications.”