New Medication to deal with four different elements of blood pressure has been dubbed a miracle pill by researchers. Combining four drugs into a single dose could be twice effective as anything that has gone before in treating the condition, it has been claimed.
High blood pressure is a common problem in the UK, with more than 17 million people being affected. It can be particularly bad for the elderly, although symptoms can be late to show, meaning around half of sufferers are unaware they have the condition.
It can lead to heart attacks and strokes, but also vascular dementia, through the damaging and narrowing of blood vessels in the brain. It is, therefore, important to get a diagnosis and for the right medication to be used to keep the condition in check.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country take pills for their blood pressure each day, but most are only prescribed one drug. Around half of those on tablets see their blood pressure drop a level that is considered healthy.
It is, therefore, a promising sign that there was a 100 per cent success rate in a trial by the George Institute at Sydney University combing four drugs into one. The scientists involved have stressed that only 18 patients took part in the trial, but are hopeful that similar results can be replicated on a larger scale.
Professor Clara Chow, author of the study, said: “Most people receive one medicine at a normal dose but that only controls blood pressure about half the time. In this small trial, blood pressure control was achieved for everyone. Trials will now test whether this can be repeated and maintained long-term.”
During the trial, each of the patients was given a capsule containing a quarter dose of all four of the most common blood pressure drugs - irbesartan, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide and atenolol. Lower dosages mean fewer side effects, but by working together, the impact of the medications is greater.
Professor Chow added: “Minimising side-effects is important for long-term treatments – we didn’t see any issues in this trial, as you would hope with very low-dose therapy, but this is the area where more long-term research is most needed.”
So, while the quadpill, as it is being referred to, will not be made available imminently, there is potential for it to become a common treatment in the future. Taking a new approach to the treatment of blood pressure could lead to fewer associated risks moving forward.