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New high blood pressure wonder drug
A new wonder-drug to treat high blood pressure?
Last week the media reported on a ‘miracle pill’ to treat high blood pressure.
The report was based on a study carried out in Australia and published in the Lancet. In the study the four drugs usually used to treat high blood pressure were combined, in smaller doses, into one pill.
People were randomly assigned either to one of two groups. One group, the ‘treatment group’ was given the new pill and the other ‘control group’ was given a placebo pill.
Both groups were followed for four weeks and at the end of the period each person had their blood pressure measured. After a two week break, the groups were reversed with the ‘treatment group’ taking the placebo for four weeks and the ‘control group’ taking the new pill. At the end of the second four week period blood pressure measurements were taken again.
While the blood pressure for people taking the new pill did show a significant decrease this was compared to taking no drug at all. There were no reports of side effects in those taking the new pill indicating that there may be a benefit of combining smaller doses of several drugs compared to a higher dose of one drug.
As promising as these findings are it is important to know that there were only 18 participants in the trial and the results were compared to a placebo. Therefore it’s not quite fair to call this a wonder-drug or miracle pill. A much larger study needs to be carried out for a longer period to see whether this treatment is more effective and has fewer side-effects than the medications we currently use to treat high blood pressure.