In a recent study, researchers find that combinations of smaller doses of blood pressure medications may lower blood pressure with fewer side effects.
The findings are published in the journal Hypertension.
Researchers from University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia showed that taking more than one anti-hypertension medicine at the same time might be more effective than taking one anti-hypertension medicine.
Currently, patients can take various high blood pressure medications. Each of the medications has potential side effects, including headache, insomnia, dizziness, weakness, and muscle pain.
In the current study, the team analyzed data from 20,284 patients with high blood pressure in 42 studies. These people took various doses of medications or no meds.
The team focused on five main classes of drugs to treat hypertension, including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blocker and thiazides.
They found that any two meds combined at ¼ dose each were just as effective as one med at standard dose.
In addition, any four meds combined at ¼ dose each were as twice effective as one med at standard dose.
Moreover, the combo therapies had much less side effects than a standard dose of single med.
These findings suggest that low-dose combinations for blood pressure control is promising. However, the researchers said that more research are needed before doctors change how they prescribe blood pressure lowering therapies.
Few low dose combinations currently are available to patients, and future work should work on that.
“Widespread control of blood pressure is generally low, even in high-income countries,” said one author.
“The largest global survey of hypertension patients showed 88 percent of those aware of hypertension are treated with medications, but only one in three were able to gain control of their blood pressure.”
“Because high blood pressure is so common and serious, even small improvements in management can have a large impact on public health.”