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New Combo Drug May Cut Blood Pressure

Study Shows Adding a New Drug to Diovan Boosts Its Ability to Reduce Hypertension

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

March 16, 2010 - Marrying a new blood-pressure-lowering drug to an old one results in a new drug that works better than either drug alone, a manufacturer-sponsored clinical trial suggests.

Novartis's AHU377 is a new kind of blood pressure drug called a vasopeptidase inhibitor. A previous drug in this class, Bristol-Myers Squibb's omipatrilat, showed great promise but failed because of a dangerous side effect.

AHU377 does not appear to have this side effect. But it's not a very powerful drug all by itself. However, a new study suggests that it significantly boosts the effects of Novartis's Diovan, a different kind of blood pressure drug called an angiotensin II receptor blocker.

The combination of the two types of drug creates a new molecule: an ARNI or "dual-acting angiotensin II-receptor and neprilysin inhibitor," suggest Luis Miguel Ruilope, MD, of Hospital 12 October in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues.

Ruilope and colleagues tested the new drug, code-named LCZ696, in 1,328 adults ages 18 to 75 in 18 nations. Study participants had only mild-to-moderate high blood pressure: on average, 156/100 (normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less).

Across all dosages tested, LCZ696 boosted the blood-pressure lowering effect of Diovan.

At the dosage chosen for further clinical trials, 200 milligrams, LCZ696 dropped systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 11 points and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 6.14 points. An equivalent dose of Diovan alone decreased systolic blood pressure by 5.69 points and diastolic blood pressure by 3.17 points.

By comparison:

  • Reducing your weight cuts systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 points per 22 pounds lost.
  • Regular physical activity cuts systolic blood pressure by 4 to 9 points.
  • The low-fat, high-vegetable/fruit DASH diet cuts systolic blood pressure by 8 to 14 points.
  • Cutting back drinking to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women cuts systolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 points.

Novartis participated in the design, data collection, data interpretation, and writing of the Ruilope study.

The study findings appear in the March 16 online edition of The Lancet.

SOURCES:

Ruilope, L.M. The Lancet, published online March 16, 2010.

Waeber, B. and Feihl, F. The Lancet, published online March 16, 2010.

Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH Publication No. 03-5231, May 2003.

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.



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