19 February 2008

One pill for BP and cholesterol?

Researchers say a single pill containing a blood-pressure and cholesterol lowering drug works well in those with poorly controlled high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

In African-Americans with poorly controlled high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol, treatment with a single pill containing a blood pressure-lowering drug and a cholesterol-lowering drug may prove particularly useful, researchers say.

Getting blood pressure and "bad" LDL-cholesterol under control has been harder to do in African Americans than in the overall US population, note the researchers in a report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a medical journal. The current study, they say, suggests that the single-pill option may help more of them reach their goals.

The single pill combo is marketed as Caduet by Pfizer, the company that supported the study. Caduet contains the drug amlodipine, used to treat high blood pressure and atorvastatin, used to lower cholesterol.

How the study was done
In the study, 499 African Americans with uncontrolled hypertension and "dyslipidemia" (elevations in cholesterol or triglycerides) received Caduet in eight different dosage strengths, which were flexibly increased as needed.

"We have shown, in a study designed to approximate 'real world' practice in African Americans with poorly controlled hypertension and dyslipidemia that single-pill amlodipine/atorvastatin provides substantial improvement in both risk factors," Dr John M. Flack, from Wayne State University Health Centre in Detroit and colleagues report.

"Control of hypertension and dyslipidemia had been achieved in less than one percent of patients at study entry but was attained by almost half by week 20," they further note.

What the study revealed
More specifically, they report that 236 (48.3 percent) of 489 patients reached both their blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol goals, versus four (0.8 percent) of 484 at baseline.

Separately, they found that 280 (56.8 percent) of 493 patients reached BP goals, versus seven (1.4 percent) of 494 at baseline, while 361 (73.7 percent) of 490 reached LDL-cholesterol goals compared with 138 (28.5 percent) of 484 at baseline.

The single-pill combination was well tolerated; the most common treatment-related adverse events were peripheral swelling (3.4 percent), headache (2.2 percent), muscle pain (2.2 percent) and constipation (2.0 percent), none of which were considered severe. – (Reuters Health) - February 2008

Read more:
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Soy nuts may lower BP


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Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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