'Triple pill' lowers blood pressure compared to traditional therapy

A drug therapy containing low doses of three different blood pressure-lowering medications, also known as the “Triple Pill,” decreased blood pressure targets compared with traditional drug treatment. Researchers highlighted the efficacy of the pill when presenting their findings at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session in Orlando on March 12.

The Triple Pill combines blood pressure medications telmisartan (20 mg), amlodipine (2.5 mg) and chlorthalidone (12.5 mg).

“Most people—70 percent—reached blood pressure targets with the Triple Pill,” said lead researcher and presenter Ruth Webster, MBBS, of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues. “The benefits were seen straight away and maintained until six months, whereas with usual care control rates were 55 percent at six months and even lower earlier in the trial.”

The trial aimed to test whether starting treatment with low doses of three drugs would have more of an impact on blood pressure control compared to traditional care.

The trial, dubbed TRIUMPH, enrolled 700 patients with an average age of 56 years. The cohort’s average blood pressure was 154/90 mm Hg. Nearly 60 percent of the study subjects were not receiving treatment for elevated blood pressure before enrolling in the trial. Almost a third of the cohort had diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

Patients were randomly divided into two groups—one receiving the Triple Pill while the other was given traditional treatment, consisting of a physician’s choice of blood pressure medication. The end goal was for patients to achieve a blood pressure target of 140/90 mm Hg or less or 130/80 mm Hg for patients exhibiting diabetes or chronic kidney disease at the end of the six-month trial.

Researchers noted was a significantly higher proportion of patients who received the Triple Pill achieved their target blood pressure within six months. There was a 53 percent reduction in the risk for high blood pressure in patients receiving the Triple Pill.

Other notable findings included:

  • Triple Pill users had an average 8.7 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure.
  • The traditional treatment users had an average of 4.5 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure.
  • After six weeks of treatment, 68 percent of the Triple Pill users an achieved target blood pressure range, traditional therapy was only 44 percent.
  • Unfavorable effects did not increase in patients taking the Triple Pill.

“Based on our findings, we conclude that this new method of using blood pressure-lowering drugs was more effective and just as safe as current approaches,” the authors concluded.

A follow-up study is being conducted to assess the thoughts of both patients and physicians on the usage of the Triple Pill. Additionally, researchers are conducting a cost effectiveness evaluation to assess whether the Triple Pill is a cost-effective solution to lowering blood pressure.