SINGAPORE - Instead of taking up to four drugs to reach an acceptable blood pressure level, hypertension sufferers can now pop a new single-pill combination drug that offers additional therapeutic and cardiovascular benefits.
The drug TWYNSTA, taken once a day, contains a unique combination of the calcium channel blocker amlodipine and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) telmisartan, and has been proven to provide 24-hour blood pressure reduction and control.
Calcium channel blockers work by reducing blood pressure through a decrease in both cardiac output - which is the volume of blood being pumped by the heart over one minute - and total peripheral resistance, induced by the widening arteries, in the cardiovascular system.
However, a common side effect is a higher risk of peripheral oedema - which is the swelling of tissues, usually in the lower limbs.
The telmisartan-amlodipine combination reduces the chances of this side effect created by amlodipine taken on its own.
ARBs work by selectively blocking the action of a peptide hormone called angiotensin that causes blood vessels to constrict, driving blood pressure up.
The combination drug, released by German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, also provides additional cardiovascular benefits.
Telmisartan is the only ARB that provides cardiovascular protection against heart attack and stroke, and amlodipine has also been shown to be effective as a preventive measure for patients with coronary artery disease.
Hypertension significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke in patients.
The pill was approved by the Health Science Authority (HSA) for distribution in Singapore in September, and is available only with a prescription.
AsiaOne understands that the cost of the telmisartan-amlodipine combination is about 25 per cent less than the total cost of buying these two drugs separately.
According to the Health Promotion Board (HPB), one in five Singaporeans aged between 18 to 69 years have hypertension, and one in two has this condition in the 60 to 69 year age group.