Combo vs. One Standard Medication Assessed in HTN Care

Researchers suggest smaller doses of several drugs better than standard dose of just one medication
Researchers suggest smaller doses of several drugs better than standard dose of just one medication

HealthDay News — Combining low doses of several different antihypertensive medications may be better than using a standard dose of just 1 drug, according to a review published online June 5 in Hypertension.

Anthony Rodgers, MD, PhD, a professor of global health at the George Institute for Global Health and University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues reviewed 42 studies involving ultra-low doses of multiple medications.

According to the researchers, combining quarter doses of 2 drugs was as effective as a single standard dose of one blood pressure-lowering medication. A combination of 4 medications – each at 1-quarter dose – was nearly twice as effective as 1 drug at the standard dose, they found. In general, all of the quarter-dose combinations reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by several points compared to a placebo. One study of quarter doses of 4 medications combined found that the combination reduced systolic blood pressure by 22.4 points and diastolic by 13.1 points, on average, compared to a placebo, the researchers reported. 

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"In terms of adverse events, single and dual quarter-dose therapy was not significantly different from placebo and had significantly fewer adverse events compared with standard-dose monotherapy," the authors write. "Quarter-dose combinations could provide improvements in efficacy and tolerability of blood pressure-lowering therapy."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; 2 authors are named on pending patents related to the research.

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