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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