Around eight million people have high blood pressure in the UK and nearly two million take a combination of tablets to control their blood pressure levels – the majority of those people are aged over 50. It can mean taking 90 tablets a month, which often leads to mistakes. According to research from Cegedim, a market research company that specialises in healthcare, around 80% of patients with high blood pressure may not be taking their medications as directed by their doctor. Reducing the number of pills that a patient has to take could make it easier to stick to doctor’s orders, ensuring that blood pressure levels are kept in check.
When blood pressure levels aren’t controlled it can lead to a stroke. High blood pressure – otherwise known as hypertension – causes blood to flow through the arteries with too much force. This causes damage to the artery walls, which in turn causes plaque to build up in the damaged areas. This constricts the flow of blood through that artery and may even block bloodflow. When this occurs, the parts of your body connected with the damaged artery will begin to suffer as they do not get enough blood. The results include coronary heart disease and attack, stroke, and kidney failure. With medication, lifestyle and dietary changes, however, high blood pressure can usually be managed and it’s possible to dramatically reduce your risk of stroke and other heart-related problems.
The new combination pill, which consists of three medications – olmesartan medoxomil, amlodipine besilate and hydrochlorothiazide – has been made available to the NHS. This means that while you won't be able to ask your GP for the medication right now, it should be available to patients within a year or so. So taking the right medication at the right time should be simple.