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Use of initial and subsequent antihypertensive combination treatment in the last decade: analysis of a large Italian database

J Hypertens. 2022 Jul 26. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000003215. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to assess the use of antihypertensive combination treatment, both as the initial and as a subsequent therapeutic step, in a large Italian population.

METHODS: The residents of the Lombardy Region (Italy), aged 40 years or older, who were newly treated with antihypertensive drugs during 2012, 2015 and 2018 were identified and the drug treatment strategy (monotherapy and combination of two, three and more than three antihypertensive drugs) was assessed at treatment initiation, and after 6 months, 1, 2, and 3 years of treatment. Data were also analysed after stratification for demographic and clinical categories.

RESULTS: About 100 000 patients were identified for each cohort. Monotherapy was the most common initial treatment strategy (75%), followed by two-drug single-pill combination (16%), two-drug free combination (6%), and combination of at least three drugs (3%). Use of two and three or more antihypertensive drugs increased during follow-up and reached about 32% (two drugs) and 11% (>2 drugs) of the patients after 3 years from treatment initiation. Among patients prescribed a two-drug combination, the single-pill was the most common approach, whereas the use of the three-drug single-pill combination was extremely rare. There were no substantial differences in the use of combination treatment between the three cohorts and the results were similar in all demographic and clinical categories.

CONCLUSION: Our data show that in a real-life population use of antihypertensive drug combinations is low. They also show that, contrary to guideline recommendations, antihypertensive combination treatment did not show any noticeable increase in recent years.

PMID:35881457 | DOI:10.1097/HJH.0000000000003215

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