Three in one: safety, efficacy, and patient acceptability of triple fixed-dose combination medicine in the management of hypertension
Addison A Taylor, Shawn Ragbir
Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
Abstract: Hypertensive patients whose blood pressures are more than 20 mmHg above their goal will often require three or more medications. Careful selection of medications whose actions are complementary or have an improved adverse effect profile when combined can affect not only the blood pressure but also patient acceptance, thus improving persistence in taking the medications as prescribed. This review will highlight the three single-pill three-drug combinations currently available in the US and will address their efficacy, safety, and tolerability. All three include the dihydropyridine calcium-channel blocker, amlodipine, and the thiazide diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide. They each contain a different renin–angiotensin system blocker. One includes the angiotensin-receptor blocker, olmesartan, while another contains valsartan. The third combination includes the direct renin inhibitor, aliskiren. All three fixed-dose combinations (FDC) at maximum doses of each component lowers the blood pressure of patients with stage II hypertension by 37 to 40 mmHg systolic and 21 to 25 mmHg diastolic, which is superior to any two of the components that comprise the three-drug FDC. These drugs are effective in males and females, the elderly, diabetics, minority populations, and patients with metabolic syndrome. Triple-drug FDCs are well tolerated with a low incidence of adverse effects, the most common being peripheral edema related to amlodipine. Extrapolation of data from two-drug FDC suggests that medication compliance (adherence and persistence) should be better with these FDCs than with the individual components taken as separate medications, although additional studies are necessary to confirm this.
Keywords: calcium-channel blockers, hypertension, patient tolerability, renin–angiotensin system antagonists, safety, triple-drug combinations
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