Millions of people who pop in pills daily to deal with high blood pressure could be spared the routine if a unique trial by British experts to treat the condition with one injection every six months succeeds.
Dubbed as a world-first, the three-year trial by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the Barts Health National Health Service Trust involved nearly 100 patients in the United Kingdom and around 500 worldwide.
British health records show that nearly a third of adults have high blood pressure, but many might not know it. The condition usually does not have noticeable symptoms, but if hypertension is not treated it can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said while there is not always an explanation for the cause of high blood pressure, most people develop it because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition. The study is funded by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
Manish Saxena, study lead and deputy clinical director at QMUL, said: “We are excited to be trialling this first-of-its-kind approach to research if it is safe and effective for the treatment of high blood pressure”.
“Solving health challenges on this scale cannot be achieved by one person or entity alone. We are thrilled to be working alongside Alnylam and combining our expertise to hopefully change modern medicine.”
Saxena added: “It is early days but our ultimate hope is that the treatment proves to be a safe and more manageable, practical solution to tackling high blood pressure. A twice-yearly treatment with injection underneath the skin would provide a better alternative to taking daily medication, which we believe would be welcome news for patients and make treating hypertension more convenient.”
BHP’s medical director Nilesh Samani said: “This exciting trial could lead to good news for the millions of people across the UK with high blood pressure, many of whom need to take daily medication to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes”.
“The study will determine whether an injection given twice a year lowers blood pressure sufficiently over a prolonged period. If this proves to be the case, it may provide an alternative to taking daily pills for some patients,” he added.
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