Tackle this from all angles
Cost is always a factor, and Dr. Patel says that pricing and reimbursement will differ in different countries. "The drugs used are all generic, so they can be manufactured at low cost," she says. "The final cost to the consumer depends on local circumstances."
Finally, we wanted to ask her about why blood pressure is, well, such a "bear" to control. "There have been problems at many levels: 1) under-diagnosis 2) even if diagnosed, under-treatment 3) even if treated, reluctance to prescribe and/or take sufficient medications. And, remember, this is usually lifelong treatment and long-term medication adherence is not easy."
What's being done isn't enough, she agrees. "Ultimately, we need to do a lot more in treating people adequately, but we also need to do more to lower blood pressure levels in everyone through more exercise, weight loss and reducing the levels of salt in our food supply. These are all big challenges but can be addressed if we tackle the problem from all angles."
This study, and the entire idea behind it, makes really good sense, said Mark Huffman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of preventive medicine and cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He spoke to HealthCentral in a telephone interview.
"When we think about trying to help lower blood pressure, it's best to try to get it down simply with as few side effects and as few pills as possible," he said. "Most people do need three drugs. This may be something patients will like better because of its simplicity."
There is one triple-combo medication on the United States market, but it's comprised of higher doses for consumers with treatment-resistant hypertension. Dr. Huffman shared that he's currently engaged in research around a quadruple pill with quarter doses.
"Tolerability is a really important aspect," he said. "Discontinuation rates are pretty high, usually due to side effects. Using medications of lower doses usually leads to fewer side effects, and that simplifies things."
As everyone knows, simpler is usually better especially with blood pressure medication.