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Hypertension. 2010 Feb;55(2):399-407. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.139816. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

Compliance, safety, and effectiveness of fixed-dose combinations of antihypertensive agents: a meta-analysis.

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International Centre for Circulatory Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


Two or more antihypertensive agents are increasingly used to control blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients. However, it is unclear whether fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) of 2 antihypertensive agents in a single tablet provide greater benefits than the corresponding free-drug components given separately. A meta-analysis was performed to assess compliance, persistence, BP control, and safety associated with FDCs in comparison with their free-drug components. Fifteen included studies (n=32331) reported on >or=1 of the evaluated outcomes. In 3 cohort studies and 2 trials reporting on drug compliance (n=17 999), the use of FDCs was associated with significantly better compliance (odds ratio: 1.21 [95% CI: 1.03 to 1.43]; P=0.02) compared with its corresponding free-drug combinations. In 3 cohort studies (n=12 653), there was a nonsignificant improvement in persistence with therapy (odds ratio: 1.54 [95% CI: 0.95 to 2.49]; P=0.08), and in 5 trials (n=1775) the odds ratio for adverse effects for FDC use compared with free-drug combination use was 0.80 (95% CI: 0.58 to 1.11; P=0.19). In 9 trials (n=1671) with BP data, use of an FDC was associated with nonsignificant changes in systolic and diastolic BPs of 4.1 mm Hg (95% CI: -9.8 to 1.5; P=0.15) and 3.1 mm Hg (95% CI: -7.1 to 0.9; P=0.13), respectively. In these BP-lowering comparisons, there was heterogeneity associated with differences in study design but no publication bias. In conclusion, compared with free-drug combinations, FDCs of antihypertensive agents are associated with a significant improvement in compliance and with nonsignificant beneficial trends in BP and adverse effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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