Low-dose 'triple pill' lowers blood pressure better

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A pill combining low doses of three blood pressure-reducing medications significantly increased the number of patients reaching blood pressure targets, compared with usual care. That was the word over the weekend from researchers at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session held in Orlando.

"Most people — 70 percent — reached blood pressure targets with the Triple Pill,” said study lead author Ruth Webster, MBBS, of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. “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."

The combination pill includes telmisartan (20 mg), amlodipine (2.5 mg) and chlorthalidone (12.5 mg). These medications use different mechanisms to reduce blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, so the heart does not need to pump as hard to circulate blood.

Researchers reported there were no significant increases in adverse effects.

The TRIUMPH trial, conducted in Sri Lanka, enrolled 700 patients whose average age was 56 years. Trial participants had an average blood pressure of 154/90 mm Hg. The average reduction in blood pressure was 8.7 mm Hg for participants receiving the Triple Pill and 4.5 mm Hg for those receiving usual care. The maximum difference between the two groups of patients came at six weeks, when 68% of those taking the Triple Pill achieved a blood pressure within their target range, compared with 44% of those receiving usual care.