Hope for hundreds of thousands with ‘untreatable’ high blood pressure as scientists find ‘exciting’ drug that can help
- Baxdrostat prevents making of aldosterone – which helps regulate salt in body
- Some 248 patients with ‘treatment resistant’ high blood pressure were involved
- Patients were given either a placebo or varying doses of the drug for 12 weeks
Hundreds of thousands of people with untreatable high blood pressure could benefit from a new drug, a trial suggests.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the world’s most common conditions and affects roughly a third of British and half of American adults.
In recent years it has become clear that between five and 10 per cent of these people do not respond to traditional blood pressure medication, and so their condition does not improve.
But researchers now think they have discovered a drug that can ‘significantly’ reduce hypertension in this group — and could therefore ‘offer hope’ to hundreds of thousands of people.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and colleagues at the US pharmaceutical firm CinCor examined whether patients would benefit from taking a drug called Baxdrostat. Baxdrostat works by preventing the body from making aldosterone – a hormone which helps to regulate the amount of salt in the body
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and colleagues at the US pharmaceutical firm CinCor examined whether patients would benefit from taking a drug called Baxdrostat.
Baxdrostat works by preventing the body from making aldosterone – a hormone which causes salt to be retained in the body.
People who produce too much aldosterone end up with an imbalance, which in turn increases blood pressure.
As part of the trial, 248 patients with ‘treatment resistant’ high blood pressure were given either a dummy drug – also known as a placebo – or varying doses of the drug for 12 weeks.
The team found people who received the highest dose saw their blood pressure reduced by an average of 20 points — enough to take participants with high blood pressure out of the ‘danger’ zone and back into the normal range.
‘The results of this first-of-its-kind drug are exciting, although more testing is required before we can draw comparisons with any existing medications,’ said Professor Morris Brown, co-senior author of the study and professor of endocrine hypertension at Queen Mary University of London.
‘But Baxdrostat could potentially offer hope to many people who do not respond to traditional hypertension treatment.
‘The effectiveness of older drugs in individual patients can vary substantially, whereas a hallmark of this new class is that it can be predicted to work well in the patients whose aldosterone hormone has made them resistant to older treatments.’
High blood pressure is the main cause of strokes, and a common cause of heart attacks and kidney failure.
In most people with the condition the cause is unknown, and they need lifelong treatment through drugs.
The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference in the US.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many won’t realise it.
The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
- A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- heart failure
- peripheral arterial disease
- aortic aneurysms
- kidney disease
- vascular dementia
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