However, in a report presented Monday at the 22nd scientific conference of the American Society of Hypertension, doctors said that those patients who were started on lower doses of valsartan -- sold as Diovan -- were unable to catch up with their counterparts in the six-week trial.
"These findings show that high blood pressure can be effectively reduced in a shorter period of time when higher doses or combination therapy is initiated early," said Kenneth Jamerson, professor of internal medicine at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
"VELOCITY (Valsartan Effectiveness in Lowering Blood Pressure Comparative Study) found that patients starting therapy on higher doses of Diovan or Diovan with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide had similar side effect profiles to those starting with lower doses, and achieved a greater blood-pressure reduction than those initiating on lower doses."
The 6-week, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, treatment regimen study included 648 adults with high blood pressure. Participants in the three groups were initiated on valsartan 80-mg, valsartan 160-mg or valsartan 160- mg, plus 12.5 mg of the diuretic for the first two weeks and were then titrated according to the study design.
All non-responders, whose blood pressure remained above the goal of 140/90 mmHg, were titrated at weeks two and four with higher doses of the drug.
The study was funded by Novartis.