Low-dose ‘triple pill’ lowers blood pressure more than usual care

ORLANDO (March 12, 2018) — A pill combining low doses of three blood pressure-lowering medications significantly increased the number of patients reaching blood pressure targets compared with usual care, researchers reported at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session. There was also no significant increase in adverse effects with the “Triple Pill.”

“Most people–70 percent–reached blood pressure targets with the Triple Pill. The benefits were seen straight away and maintained until six months, whereas with usual care control rates were 55 percent at six months and even lower earlier in the trial,” said Ruth Webster, MBBS, of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and lead author of the study. “Based on our findings, we conclude that this new method of using blood pressure-lowering drugs was more effective and just as safe as current approaches.”

Despite the availability of effective blood pressure-lowering drugs, high blood pressure remains a major problem around the world, Webster said. Effectively treating high blood pressure can help to prevent heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems. Globally, however, many people with high blood pressure receive no treatment, and only about a third of those who are treated achieve recommended reductions in blood pressure. Achieving desired reductions in blood pressure often requires treatment with more than one medication, which increases the complexity of treatment, and patients often have difficulty adhering to regimens that involve taking multiple pills every day.

This study was the first large trial designed to test the theory that starting treatment with low doses of three drugs could achieve better blood pressure control compared with usual care and that combining these drugs in a single pill would make it easier both for doctors to prescribe treatment and for patients to adhere to it, Webster said.

The TRIUMPH trial, which was conducted in Sri Lanka, enrolled 700 patients whose average age was 56 years, 58 percent of whom were women. Trial participants had an average blood pressure of 154/90 mm Hg. Over half (59 percent) were receiving no treatment for high blood pressure before they enrolled in the trial. In addition to high blood pressure, 32 percent of participants had diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

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