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UTHSC needs people for new studies on blood pressure medications

Anyone interested in finding out more about the study and possibly participating can call 901-448-8405 or email bpstudy@uthsc.edu.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is looking for participants for new studies on new blood pressure medications.

“We’re beginning two new studies in hypertension. So, people with high blood pressure. And so we’re looking for people who would be interested in participating in these studies,” said Dr. William Cushman, professor and Medical Director for Research Clinics for the Department of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC.

The new medicine is a combination of three existing blood pressure medicines, but in lower doses, combined all into one pill.

“We’re studying a new form of medication that’s taking old blood pressure medications, which are some of our very best medication to treat hypertension with…. the company that is sponsoring this from Australia is putting this together in three drugs and one pill. So, they’re lower doses in one pill,” he said.

“One of the studies is to actually look at how effective this triple medication is, one pill, three drugs and one pill, compared to placebo. So, that’s one study,” said Dr. Cushman. “The other study does not include a placebo and is actually comparing the triple drug therapy with each of the two components to see whether each additional medication adds blood pressure lowering affect. And that’s a requirement that the FDA has in order to say that these three drugs, even in low doses, are better than two drugs.”

They are recruiting both men and women of all races for this study. But said they would like to recruit a number of African-Americans based on the Mid-South’s location in the country.

“Hypertension is extremely common in United States. About 50% of adults have hypertension and it’s even higher here in the Midsouth,” said Dr. Cushman. “The idea is that these three lower doses would actually lower blood pressure better than even high doses of a single pill, and we think with lower side effects.”

He recommends keeping blood pressure under control by using medication and lifestyle changes.

“The reason it’s so important to treat and control high blood pressure is it is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, and it is a major contributor to causing stroke, heart failure, heart attacks and other kinds of heart and blood vessel diseases.”

If the study shows what the doctors believe it will, it could be life-changing for many.

“Some of the medicines that are very good for treating hypertension, we actually need to monitor certain things like potassium, creatinine, which is kidney function. And with this lower dose we’re hoping that it won’t produce any real significant changes in any of those parameters. So, that the pill could even be used in Third World countries. But even in the United States it would be much simpler to use and many more people, we think, would be controlled with this pill as opposed to having to start out with one drug and then adding other drugs.”

UTHSC is looking for a wide variety of people with hypertension, from 18 to 75 years of age. Participants could be on a medicine regiment for hypertension, or currently not taking any medications.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the study and possibly participating can call 901-448-8405 or email bpstudy@uthsc.edu.

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