Some people with high blood pressure can’t get it under control with regular drugs, but a new study shows that an experimental drug can help these hard-to-treat cases.
Why do some people have more trouble than others controlling their high blood pressure? Researchers say that high blood pressure is much harder to control when it is caused by the hormone aldosterone, which controls how much salt the body keeps.
The drug baxdrostat can help because it blocks an enzyme that is needed to make aldosterone. In the study, scientists worked with 274 people who were given one of three doses of the drug or a placebo in addition to the medicines they were already taking.
Even though the people in the study were taking at least three different blood pressure medicines, their blood pressure was at least 130/80 mm Hg.
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If your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher, you have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. When the top number is between 120 and 129, blood pressure is said to be high.
Researchers found that the top number dropped by 20 points in people who were given the highest dose of the new drug.
In the study, even people who were given a placebo had their systolic blood pressure go down by 11 points.
Dr. Morris Brown, a professor of endocrine hypertension at Queen Mary University of London and co-author of the study, told NBC News that it is likely that people were not taking every tablet every day that they were supposed to. “But when they join a study, they start taking their regular pills more often.”
About 20% to 30% of adult Americans have high blood pressure and about 5% to 10% of these people have hypertension that can’t be controlled. These people are more likely to have strokes or heart attacks.
The results were announced Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago. They were also published at the same time in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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