high blood pressure
Medical Research

Low-Dose Hypertension Pill Shows Remarkable Results

Researchers have concluded based a small but clinically important trial that a new ultra-low dose pill to treat hypertension has produced startling results.

Every patient in the pilot trial conducted by The George Institute for Global Health, in Sydney, Australia, saw their blood pressure levels drop to normal levels in just four weeks.

Professor Clara Chow said the results published in The Lancet were exciting, but that larger trials were needed to see if these high rates could be maintained and repeated.

Chow, director of the Institute’s Cardiovascular Division, 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.

“Minimizing 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.

“We know that high blood pressure is a precursor to stroke, diabetes and heart attack. The need for even lower blood pressure levels has been widely accepted in the last few years. So this could be an incredibly important step in helping to reduce the burden of disease globally.”

Over four weeks 18 patients in Sydney were either given a quadpill – a single capsule containing four of the most commonly used blood pressure-lowering drugs each at a quarter dose – or a placebo.  This was then repeated for a further four weeks with the patients swapping their course of treatment.

Blood pressure levels were measured hourly over a 24 hour period at the end of each treatment, allowing researchers to significantly reduce the amount of patients normally required in a clinical trial.

100 per cent of patients on trial saw their blood levels drop below 140 over 90. Just 33 per cent of patients on the placebo achieved this rate.

None of the patients experienced side effects commonly associated with hypertension lowering drugs, which can vary from swollen ankles to kidney abnormalities.

Chow said: “What makes these result even more exciting is that these four blood pressure medications are already in use. We are increasingly finding there are opportunities to treat many common diseases hiding in plain sight. This ultimately means we will be able to deliver life changing medications much more quickly, and more affordably.”

Researchers at The George Institute are just about to begin a much larger trial of the quadpill.