Hypertension: The new drug helped lower blood pressure for 6 months

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Adhering to blood pressure medications is important to reduce the risks associated with uncontrolled hypertension. A new drug being studied may lead to clues for the development of safer medications with longer-lasting effects. Jovana Milanko/Stocksy
  • An investigational drug called zilebesiran was found to be safe and effective in reducing systolic blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure for six months with a single injection.
  • More than 1 billion people in the world have high blood pressure. Hypertension puts a person at a higher risk for various health problems throughout the body.
  • Many people have trouble adhering to their blood pressure medication prescription, leaving them open to risks associated with uncontrolled hypertension.

An investigational drug called zilebesiran has been found to be safe and effective in reducing systolic blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure for up to six months with a single injection.

These results from the drug’s phase 2 clinical trial were recently presented at the American Heart Association’s 2023 Scientific Sessions.

More than 1 billion people In the whole world blood pressure, medically known as hypertension.

Past studies show that high blood pressure increases a person’s risk for many cardiovascular problems, such as stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

In addition, people with hypertension have a higher probability of kidney damage, metabolic syndromedementia, and vision problems.

High blood pressure is treated through medication and lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and increased physical activity.

However, previous research shows that not all people with high blood pressure adhere to their prescribed medication, with many stop taking the drug after a year. This leaves them open to risks associated with uncontrolled hypertension.

According to Dr. George L. Bakris, professor of medicine and director of the American Heart Association Comprehensive Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medicine and lead author of this study, more than 70% of people with hypertension do not take the they medication or do. do not take them as prescribed.

“So (we have) less than 30% of people with controlled hypertension in the country,” said Dr. Bakris. Medical News Today. “This is despite the fact that we have more than 100 antihypertensive medications for use.”

Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, a board-certified interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Structural Heart Program at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, CA — who was not involved in this study — agreed:

“It is believed that a large percentage of patients do not take their blood pressure medications as prescribed. When patients are not fully adherent to their medication regimen, (i) chances are their blood pressure will not is not under control increase, which in turn increases the risk of a cardiovascular event.

A big problem is just the large number of prescribed medications that patients need to follow, some of which have to be taken several times a day.”

Dr. Jennifer Wong, board-certified cardiologist and medical director of Noninvasive Cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, told MNT that she found that adherence to high blood pressure medications it can be difficult. with any daily medication that has no immediate tangible effect.

“Uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor for the development of atherosclerotic diseases,” continued Dr. Wong. “And often it is such a future event that many patients find it difficult to take … medication regularly. Each drop of 10 mm of blood pressure can significantly reduce their risk for these diseases.”

Zilebesiran is an investigational targeted RNA interference agent angiotensinogen (AGT). AGT is a hormone produced primarily in the liver that helps regulate a person’s blood pressure.

“Zilebesiran blocks the message in the cell that stimulates (a) the production of a substance called angiotensinogen,” explains Dr. Bakris. “This is the substance it is transformed into angiotensin II – (a) powerful agent that causes the arteries to constrict and increases blood pressure.

“Angiotensin II has many purposes but, in excess, it can raise blood pressure,” he added. “Thus, blocking its production reduces the likelihood of high blood pressure and reduces pre-existing high pressure.”

For this study, Dr. Bakris and his team recruited about 400 people with moderate to moderate high blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure of 135-160 mm Hg. All participants were either untreated for high blood pressure or on stable therapy with up to two antihypertensive medications.

Study participants received either 150mg, 300mg, or 600mg doses once every six months, a 300mg dose once every three months of zilebesiran, or a placebo.

After six months, researchers found that participants who received zilebesiran were significantly more likely to experience reductions in 24-hour average systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or more without needing to take additional high blood pressure medication.

Study participants taking zilebesiran were also more likely to achieve a 24-hour mean systolic blood pressure measurement of 130 mm Hg or less at six months.

“I was pleasantly surprised that the effect lasted six months, but according to what I knew about the drug, I waited three months. Also, I did not expect the magnitude of the fall to be as large as 14-15 mm Hg, but more like 7-8 mm Hg, which is what the pills provide. But then again, zilebesiran blocks the system more effectively.”

– Dr. George L. Bakris

After reviewing this research, Dr. Ian del Conde, cardiologist and director of vascular medicine at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, said. MNT that this is an exciting study that marks a new era in the treatment of high blood pressure.

“I don’t think most doctors would have anticipated a therapy like this just a few years ago,” continued Dr. del Conde. “The idea that a chronic condition that is extremely prevalent in all societies around the world and has been clearly shown to increase the risk of premature death can be effectively and safely treated with a single injection administered every six months or so is a game changer.”

“[D]despite the availability of many classes of blood pressure drugs that are effective, safe and expensive, there are still many patients who do not have our code for blood pressure control. Adherence or tolerance to usual therapies is a common cause of uncontrolled blood pressure. This new treatment may change the way high blood pressure is treated in the future.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, also reviewed the study and said MNT: :

“This study shows that an injection that could be given as little as twice a year is effective in lowering blood pressure. More work is needed to show that it reduces heart attacks and strokes, but if this is the case, then this could be a game-changing new treatment for high blood pressure.”

Dr. Chen said MNT that doctors do not currently have blood pressure medication for such a long time after a single dose.

“This type of dosing interval gives us a tool to improve blood pressure over a prolonged period of time without requiring consistent adherence to daily medication,” he added.

“This drug significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (by) at least 10 mm Hg on average, and sometimes 20 mm Hg or more on average,” Dr. Chen continued. “Since the average systolic blood pressure at the start of this study was 142 mmHg, this meant that a patient’s blood pressure could be brought to a ‘normal’ range with just this injection, without the help of medication blood pressure supplement.

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