Progress Against Hypertension

There's encouraging news for the more than 50 million Americans who have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Doctors now have a new once-daily combination prescription medication that may be a highly effective approach in controlling hypertension for millions of patients.

Hypertension occurs when the blood is unable to move through the body as easily as it should. As a result, the heart must work harder and long-term complications may develop. Indeed, hypertension has been linked to stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Today there are a number of medications available to reduce blood pressure, including Ace inhibitors and calcium channel blockers. Ace inhibitors work by blocking the release of an enzyme known to tighten the arteries which carry the blood. Calcium channel blockers prevent the build-up of calcium in the artery walls which can also narrow the arterial passageways.

While these medications can be effective in lowering blood pressure, some patients may not respond to either drug individually. In these cases, doctors often prescribe both medications to be taken at the same time. Although this often effectively controls blood pressure, patients sometimes find that taking two different pills can be difficult to remember or just inconvenient. Now, however, scientists have developed combination medications that include an Ace inhibitor and calcium channel blocker in one pill.

One of the newest combination products is Lexxelª (enalapril maleate-felodipine ER), a once-daily medication which combines the most frequently prescribed Ace inhibitor Vasotec® (enalapril maleate), and a long-acting calcium channel blocker, Plendil® (felodipine).

Lexxel has been shown to be safe and highly effective. Adverse effects, including headache, swelling and dizziness, are generally transient and mild. As with other combination medications that contain an Ace inhibitor component, Lexxel should be discontinued as soon as pregnancy is detected.

If you think you have high blood pressure, see your doctor to find out about new ways to keep it under control. (NAPSI)

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