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

not know they have it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.

High blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher. Systolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood to the body. Diastolic pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic pressure and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic pressure.

The results of the study showed that when hypothetical cohorts of 100,000 people fully adhered to the one-tablet and two-tablet regimens, each treatment group had 3,520 cardiovascular events over four years, such as fatal and non-fatal heart attack, chest pain and stroke. Medical costs over four years were $7,665 for the two-tablet regimen and $6,471 for the one-tablet regimen.

A further analysis, examining the impact of lower compliance more typical in real-world populations, showed that four-year cardiovascular events increased for the two-tablet regimen to 6,990 versus 6,859 for the one-tablet regimen. Researchers concluded the one-tablet regimen was less costly and at least as effective as the two-tablet regimen. Sensitivity analyses confirmed these results when varying the effectiveness associated with partial adherence from 0 percent to 100 percent of the effectiveness of full adherence.

Researchers in the ValueMedics study used U.S. databases to estimate direct medical costs and adverse treatment outcomes over four years among adults with similar characteristics to those examined in ASCOT-LLA. Amlodipine (brand name Norvasc) is in a class of medications called calcium channel blockers. It lowers blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not have to pump as hard.

Atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor) is in a class of medications known as sta
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