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"MDs marvel at blood pressure drug combo"

Toronto Star

Source: Toronto Star

Published: 01 Apr 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

An international drug trial that could change the way high blood pressure is controlled has shown a combination of two common hypertension medications can bring the often-lethal condition under control, even in the most dangerous cases.

In the trial, which was stopped early because the results were so positive, researchers found patients who took a so-called ACE-inhibitor and CCB combination pill suffered 20 per cent fewer major cardiac events, including death from heart attack and stroke.

The drug combination also effectively controlled blood pressure levels for 80 per cent of patients with the most serious hypertensions....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

When physicians say a new drug study should "shake the foundations" of current treatment, one tends to sit up and pay attention. Unfortunately this article fails to deliver any of the important aspects of a thorough drug story that one would expect. We don't learn how the evidence was collected, what the patients on the combination treatment were compared against, and the results. The 20 percent relative difference in major cardiac events for the patients who took an ACE-inhibitor and CCB combination pill is not meaningful because we get no sense of how many events were suffered in the control group. While it is good to see that the authors reported the funders of the study, we get no sense if the investigators quoted, who glowed about these results, had financial ties with the manufacturer of the combination pill. The best quality evidence available on the comparative benefits of antihypertensive drugs, the ALLHAT study, has never been refuted and the authors would have helped the readers by putting this new information in the context of past important trials of antihypertensive drugs. Is this treatment available in Canada and how much does it cost? Again, no answers there either.

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