Novel hypertension therapy beats treatment resistance

New drug treatment targets molecular pathways.

A new drug could help to lower BP in patients who are resistant to conventional treatments, say US researchers.

Patients with treatment-resistant hypertension are at a greater risk of cardiovascular events as they fail to reach BP targets, despite the use of a range of medications.

But darusentan has a different mode of action to current therapies and targets molecular pathways involving the endothelin-receptor antagonists.

It has been suggested that the drug could offer hope for patients with treatment-resistant hypertension.

For this study, 379 patients with high BP, who were already taking BP-lowering drugs, were randomly assigned to receive 14 weeks' treatment with placebo or darusentan at 50mg, 100mg or 300mg doses.

Overall, mean reductions in systolic and diastolic BP were 9/5mmHg with placebo, 17/10mmHg with darusentan (50mg), 18/10mmHg with darusentan (100mg) and 18/11mmHg with the highest dose of darusentan (300mg).

The research team from State University in New York concluded: 'The use of this drug accompanied by effective diuretic therapy seems to represent a new and effective strategy for dealing with treatment-resistant hypertension.'

They added that generally, darusentan was well tolerated, with the main adverse effects being related to fluid retention.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Bryan Williams, from the University of Leicester School of Medicine, said that darusentan appeared to exert its effects regardless of gender, age and other treatments and diseases.

But he warned that further studies were needed before the drug could be seen as the best treatment for every patient with resistant hypertension.

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