High blood pressure is also called hypertension. You may not have any symptoms but it's important the condition is controlled as, left untreated, it can put you at risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
The British Heart Foundation estimates that nearly 30% of UK adults are living with high blood pressure.
The Australian trial
The trial was carried out by The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney over a 4 week period.
It involved 18 patients with an average age of 58 - all with moderate untreated hypertension. They were each given a 4-in-1 tablet (quadpill) containing four blood pressure-lowering drugs each at a quarter dose – or an identical looking dummy drug ( placebo). After a 2 week gap, the patients then swapped treatments for a further 4 weeks.
The drugs in the quadpill were medications already in use for treating high blood pressure: irbesartan (an angiotensin receptor blocker), amlodipine (a calcium channel blocker), hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) and atenolol (a beta-blocker).
All the patients taking the quadpill saw their blood pressure readings drop to below 140 over 90, the number which confirms high blood pressure. Just six patients on the placebo achieved this rate.
None of the patients had any of the side-effects commonly associated with hypertension lowering drugs, which can vary, depending on the type of drug, from swollen ankles to kidney abnormalities.
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