Monotherapy versus Combination Therapy as First Line Treatment of Uncomplicated Arterial Hypertension
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- Ruzicka, M. & Leenen, F.H.H. Drugs (2001) 61: 943. doi:10.2165/00003495-200161070-00004
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Mild to moderate hypertension still remains poorly controlled. This relates to multiple factors including low antihypertensive efficacy of single drug therapies, reluctance of primary care physicians to modify/titrate initially chosen therapy to obtain target blood pressure, and poor compliance with medication. Several guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure now include combination therapy with low doses of 2 drugs as one of the strategies for the initial management of mild/moderate arterial hypertension. Evidence discussed in this article points to superior control of blood pressure by combinations of low doses of 2 drugs as compared with monotherapy in regular doses. This superior effectiveness of combined therapy relates to a better antihypertensive efficacy and higher response rates in the low range of doses as the result of complementary mechanisms of antihypertensive effects, better tolerance as a result of a lower rate of adverse effects in the low dose range, improved compliance from better tolerance and simple drug regimen, and lower cost. Whether increased use of fixed low dose combination therapies would translate to better control of arterial hypertension in the population and thereby further reduction of cardiovascular/cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality caused by hypertension remains to be assessed.