Findings from a new study suggest quarter-dose combinations of blood pressure lowering medications appear to be effective in treating hypertension and result in fewer side effects for patients than a single dose of one drug.
In the first review to compare quarter-dose therapy to both standard dose and placebo, researchers analysed and compared results from 42 trials involving 20,284 people with hypertension on various doses of medications or taking no medication.
The study, published in Hypertension , found that, compared with standard-dose monotherapy, the blood pressure differences achieved by single, dual and quadruple quarter-dose combinations were +3.7/+2.6, +1.3/-0.3, and -13.1/-7.9mmHg, respectively. Quadruple quarter-dose combinations were almost twice as effective as taking one antihypertensive therapy at the standard dose.
Side effects from single and dual quarter-dose therapies were similar to placebo and lower than from a standard dose of a single antihypertensive medication.
Quarter-dose combinations could provide improvements in efficacy and tolerability of blood pressure lowering therapy, the authors said, but they added that at present there is not enough research to warrant a change in how blood pressure lowering agents are prescribed and pointed out that there are few low-dose combinations currently available.