Researchers claim to have found a way to tackle previously untreatable high blood pressure.
Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and the US pharmaceutical firm CinCor examined whether patients would benefit from taking a drug called Baxdrostat.
Those who took a new medicine during a clinical trial were found to have significantly lower blood pressure after other traditional medicines had failed.
Baxdrostat works by preventing the body from making aldosterone, a hormone that helps to regulate the amount of salt in the body.
“The results of this first-of-its-kind drug are exciting, although more testing is required before we can draw comparisons with any existing medications,” said Professor Morris Brown, co-senior author and professor of endocrine hypertension at Queen Mary University of London.
“But Baxdrostat could potentially offer hope to many people who do not respond to traditional hypertension treatment.
“The effectiveness of older drugs in individual patients can vary substantially, whereas a hallmark of this new class is that it can be predicted to work well in the patients whose aldosterone hormone has made them resistant to older treatments.”
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Some 248 patients with “treatment-resistant” high blood pressure were given either a dummy drug – also known as a placebo – or varying doses of the drug for 12 weeks.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the blood pressure of people who received the highest dose fell by an average of 20 points.
The strongest doses were linked to the highest reductions, but those taking smaller doses also had a fall in blood pressure.