Combination therapy in hypertension: an update
Meticulous control of blood pressure is required in patients with hypertension to produce the maximum reduction in clinical cardiovascular end points, especially in patients with comorbidities like diabetes mellitus where more aggressive blood pressure lowering might be benecial. Recent clinical trials suggest that the approach of using monotherapy for the control of hypertension is not likely to be successful in most patients.
Combination therapy may be theoretically favored by the fact that multiple factors contribute to hypertension, and achieving control of blood pressure with single agent acting through one particular mechanism may not be possible. Regimens can either be fixed dose combinations or drugs added sequentially one after other.
Combining the drugs makes them available in a convenient dosing format, lower the dose of individual component, thus, reducing the side effects and improving compliance.
Classes of antihypertensive agents which have been commonly used are angiotensin receptor blockers,thiazide diuretics, beta and alpha blockers, calcium antagonists and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
Thiazide diuretics and calcium channel blockers are effective, as well as combinations that include renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockers, in reducing BP. The majority of currently available fixed-dose combinations are diuretic-based.
Combinations may be individualized according to the presence of comorbidities like diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, heart failure, thyroid disorders and for special population groups like elderly and pregnant females.
Author: Sanjay KalraBharti KalraNavneet Agrawal
Credits/Source: Diabetology &Metabolic Syndrome 2010, 2:44