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One Pill may Be Better Than Two for Treating Patients With High Blood Pressure

Adults with high blood pressure and additional risk factors for heart disease may benefit more from taking one tablet rather than two , if their current treatment combines the lipid-lowering medication atorvastatin with the blood pressure-lowering medication amlodipine, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's 8th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.

In an analysis, researchers found that a single-tablet combination of the two medications is less costly than a two-tablet combination and is at least as effective, if not more so, in preventing cardiovascular events. Patients take the single-tablet medication or the two-tablet medication daily.

'This is a novel research approach that examines the economic and clinical implications of high blood pressure and cholesterol in the real world,' said Timothy W. Smith, lead author of the study and senior director of Informatics for ValueMedics Research (a unit of IMS Health Inc), a health outcomes research and consulting firm in Falls Church, Va. Researchers used a treatment approach and a population similar to the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial Lipid-Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA), which demonstrated the benefits of adding atorvastatin to high blood pressure treatment in adults with three or more risk factors for heart disease, including abnormal ratio of total-to-high density lipoprotein (HDL the 'good' cholesterol), previous stroke, male gender, 55 years or older and smoking.

In ASCOT-LLA, researchers examined 10,305 patients with high blood pressure and additional risk factors for heart disease with lowto-moderate cholesterol levels and found the addition of atorvastatin to high blood pressure treatment resulted in a significant reduction in unfavorable outcomes: fatal and non-fatal heart attack, stroke and chest pain. Nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. About one-third of them do
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