Four-in-one blood-pressure med should be deep-sixed

It’s an idea whose time hasn’t come — again!

A not-so-new plan to combine several different low-dose meds together in one pill, similar to another concoction dubbed the “polypill,” is back… and being pitched for those with high blood pressure.

This time, the plan is a low-dose of up to four different blood pressure meds, and it’s been given a new name: “quadpill.”

But whatever they want to call it, more is definitely not better where drugs are concerned — especially those for hypertension.

The devil is in the details

It’s not often that those conducting a study outnumber the patients, but at 24 to 18, it looks like quadpill researchers are easier to find than volunteers — at least for this study done in Australia last year!

The whole idea of combining multiple meds into one pill isn’t new at all. In fact, some of the same players in the polypill saga are popping up again, particularly one Dr. Anthony Rogers, whose name will periodically appear wherever various combo pills are concerned.

Dr. Rogers holds several patents on the concept and receives “investments” on developing other drug trios and even sextuples, including variations containing aspirin, statins and meds for lowering blood pressure.

The plan now is to combine four quarter-dose amounts of a variety of blood-pressure lowering meds: a diuretic, a beta-blocker, an angiotensin-receptor blocker and a calcium-channel inhibitor.

The researchers say that, when put together, these smaller doses will effectively lower your blood pressure. Along with conducting their own 18-patient investigation, they most recently reviewed a batch of nearly 20-year-old studies in which the patients taking these small, multi-doses were followed for a couple of weeks.

The quadpill group doesn’t tell us much about the possible side effects, sometimes saying they’re “minimal” and, most recently, admitting that not much information is actually available on that little detail.

Could some patients have a worse reaction? Might the side effects be stronger when these drugs are combined? These are all things we really don’t know. Even the quadpill’s biggest champion, Dr. Rogers, admits that more research is needed when it comes to safety.

Despite the many ways these blood-pressure drugs may be packaged and presented to you, the first question you need to ask yourself is if you really even need a med — let alone two, three or four of them combined — to lower your readings in the first place!

Look, the days of taking drugs to hit those magic numbers of 120/80 should have gone the way of the rotary phone by now.

But, unfortunately, a lot of doctors seem to be unaware of all the solid research that’s out there concerning what is really hypertension and what’s not, and still regard that absurd goal — or one even lower — as something you should be aiming for.

The most recent research — from top doctors in the field — where those numbers are concerned is this:

  • For those 60 or over, a perfectly fine blood pressure reading is one that’s up to 150/90.
  • If you’re under 60, a reading up to 140/90 is also quite okay.

Numbers such as these don’t require any drugs at all!

The next question you may need to ask is what your non-drug options are if your blood pressure is truly high. And there are plenty of answers.

HSI panel member Dr. Mark Stengler believes lifestyle changes, such as dropping some pounds, not smoking and reducing chronic stress — along with eating more in line with the DASH diet of whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts — can often be enough to do the trick. Along with that, he recommends upping your levels of potassium and magnesium.

But following the mainstream’s obsession with keeping that number as low as possible by taking drugs can set you up for heart disease, dementia and even Alzheimer’s — not to mention the devastating side effects that blood-pressure meds can produce.

Plus, other research has found that when seniors take meds for hypertension, their chances of taking a fatal fall can skyrocket. And if you send those numbers down too low (a bottom, or diastolic number below 60), Johns Hopkins doctors discovered that it can be a prescription for heart disease and even death.

And certainly, the last thing you want to do is get into serious trouble by following the advice of mainstream docs who are still clinging to outmoded ideas.

“Quarter-dose combo meds for hypertension effective, more tolerated” Marcia Frellick, June 9, 2017, Medscape, medscape.com