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Blood pressure drug gets go-ahead


A pill that combines two drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure has been approved by the Swiss drugs watchdog.

Rasilez HCT, known as Tekturna in the US, contains renin inhibitor Rasilez and one of the most commonly used diuretics in the treatment of high blood pressure, hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) – sometimes called a “water pill”.

Drug maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals says the combined Rasilez HCT is twice as effective at reducing blood pressure compared to HCT alone and can effectively lower blood pressure for at least 24 hours.

High blood pressure is estimated to affect nearly one in four adults worldwide. While it is easy to measure and can be successfully managed, nearly 65% of patients with high blood pressure do not have the condition under control, underscoring the critical need for more effective treatment regimens.

Professor Michel Burnier, from the University of Lausanne, said: “Up to 70% of patients may need multiple medications to help them reach blood pressure goals. Because of complex treatment regimens, patients may have a hard time adhering to their treatment plan, which can contribute to uncontrolled blood pressure.

“By combining two therapies into a single-pill combination, Rasilez HCT effectively lowers high blood pressure and provides patients with the convenience of only having to take one pill.”

Swissmedic’s approval of Rasilez HCT for patients not controlled by either medicine alone follows the US approval of Tekturna HCT earlier this year. The firm expects a regulatory decision from the European health authorities in the first quarter of 2009

Copyright Press Association 2008


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