Felodipine–metoprolol combination tablet: a valuable option to initiate antihypertensive therapy?
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The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of a calcium antagonist/beta-blocker fixed combination tablet used as first-line antihypertesnive therapy in comparison with an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor and placebo. Patients with uncomplicated essential hypertension (diastolic blood pressure between 95 and 110 mm Hg at the end of a 4-week run-in period) were randomly allocated to a double-blind, 12-week treatment with either a combination tablet of felodipine and metoprolol (Logimax), 5/50 mg daily (n = 321), enalapril, 10 mg daily (n = 321), or placebo (n = 304), with the possibility of doubling the dose after 4 or 8 weeks of treatment if needed (diastolic blood pressure remaining >90 mm Hg). The combined felodipine-metoprolol treatment controlled blood pressure (diastolic < or =90 mm Hg 24 h after dose) in 72% of patients after 12 weeks, as compared with 49% for enalapril and 30% for placebo. A dose adjustment was required in 38% of patients receiving the combination, in 63% of patients allocated to placebo, and 61% of enalapril-treated patients. The overall incidence of adverse events was 54.5% during felodipine-metoprolol treatment; the corresponding values for enalapril and placebo were 51.7% and 47.4%, respectively. Withdrawal of treatment due to adverse events occurred in 18 patients treated with the combination, in 10 patients on enalapril, and 12 patients on placebo. No significant change in patients' well-being was observed in either of the three study groups. These results show that a fixed combination tablet of felodipine and metoprolol allows to normalize blood pressure in a substantially larger fraction of patients than enalapril given alone. This improved efficacy is obtained without impairing the tolerability. The fixed-dose combination of felodipine and metoprolol, therefore, may become a valuable option to initiate antihypertensive treatment.