Harvard Heart Letter

Two-drug combo a good start for high BP

When starting drug therapy to fight high blood pressure, a two-drug combination may work better than a single blood pressure drug.

A team of Colorado researchers compared drug prescriptions written for more than 160,000 men and women with newly diagnosed high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The percentage of those people initially treated with two drugs rose from 22% in 2002 to 45% in 2007, and is likely higher now.

After a year of treatment, those who started on a combination were 20% more likely to have their blood pressure under control than those who started on a single medication (American Heart Journal, August 2011). Almost all of the combinations were either a thiazide diuretic (water pill) plus either a potassium-sparing diuretic or an ACE inhibitor.

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