‘Exciting’ step forward in tackling untreatable high blood pressure

Baxdrostat works by preventing the body from making hormone that helps regulate salt levels

Patients who received the highest dose saw their blood pressure reduced by an average of 20 points, the study found. PA
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People with untreatable high blood pressure may be closer to medicinal help after an “exciting” clinical trial, researchers said.

The trial found test patients who took Baxdrostat had significantly lower blood pressure after other traditional medicines had failed, researchers from Queen Mary University, London found.

Patients who received the highest dose saw their blood pressure reduced by an average of 20 points, the study found.

Those taking smaller doses also saw their blood pressure fall — with the strongest doses linked to the highest reductions.

“The results of this first-of-its-kind drug are exciting, although more testing is required before we can draw comparisons with any existing medications,” said Professor Morris Brown, co-senior author from QMU.

“But Baxdrostat could potentially offer hope to many people who do not respond to traditional hypertension treatment.

“The effectiveness of older drugs in individual patients can vary substantially, whereas a hallmark of this new class is that it can be predicted to work well in the patients whose aldosterone hormone has made them resistant to older treatments.”

Baxdrostat works by preventing the body from making aldosterone — a hormone which helps to regulate the amount of salt in the body.

The research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference in the US.

In the trial, 248 patients with “treatment resistant” high blood pressure were given either a placebo or varying doses of the drug for 12 weeks.

A separate study, also being presented to the US conference, found British doctors working in the National Health Service (NHS) may be able to improve their heart disease risk assessment tools by also using genetic blood tests.

Researchers from North of England Care System Support examined whether improvements could be made to one of the current risk assessment tools used to check a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

“This kind of genomic testing has the potential to transform the way we manage cardiovascular disease in primary care,” said study lead Professor Ahmet Fuat. “Prevention is at the heart of what we do as GPs and risk assessment underpins that.”

The tool gives patients a score based on their blood pressure levels, their cholesterol, body mass index score, age, gender and family history.

Patients deemed to be high risk may be offered statins to try to reduce their risk.

Researchers wanted to assess whether adding in a person’s polygenic risk score — checking their genetic risk score through a blood or salvia test — would lead to improvements in risk assessments.

About 800 people were assessed using the new method in the trial.

The study found that 24 per cent of participants had clinically significant changes in their cardiovascular disease risk when genetic information was added to current risk assessment tools.

Doctors involved with the study judged they would change their management of 13.1 per cent of their patients as a result of knowing their integrated risk scores.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 8:20 PM