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What Is Combination Therapy for Hypertension?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Combination therapy for hypertension uses two pharmacological agents to reduce blood pressure quickly. Patients with high blood pressure who do not respond to monotherapy may be considered for treatment with two medications to determine if it is possible to achieve greater control. A number of drugs can be considered, and they may be changed if the patient responds poorly or experiences a bad reaction. Protocols designed to assist care providers in the administration of combination therapy for hypertension are available to increase the quality of care.

High blood pressure can be very common, especially among older patients. Initial attempts to address it may include diet and exercise modifications to see if it is possible to bring pressure down to a reasonable level. If these are not successful, the patient can start therapy with a single antihypertensive medication. Dosage slowly increases over time, with frequent checkups to see if blood pressure is dropping in response to the medication.

Patients who do not respond to a single drug can be good candidates for combination therapy. In this treatment, drugs from two different classes are used together, either in separate doses or a single combination pill, to attack the hypertension. Some medications that can be used in combination therapy for hypertension include beta blockers, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. The best option can depend on the patient’s case and medical history.

One benefit of combination therapy for hypertension is the tendency for drugs to complement each other. In addition to offering greater control by attacking the case of high blood pressure from multiple angles, they can even out each other’s side effects. Patients who might experience problems on one medication could feel more comfortable on two. The therapy also allows for high flexibility, as medications and dosages can be adjusted until the patient starts to exhibit a response.

Blood pressure tends to drop more quickly when patients are on combination therapy for hypertension than when they take a single medication. People at high risk of serious complications from hypertension may need to gain control as quickly as possible, and this can be an effective means of doing so. Side effects can vary, depending on the medications used, but may include sudden dangerous drops in blood pressure, liver or kidney complications, and hormone imbalances. Before starting drug therapy, patients can discuss options and alternatives to inform themselves about their treatment and determine which course of therapy may be best for them.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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