(THE SUN) – High blood pressure may soon be treated with jabs which “turn off” the condition, scientists claim.
The twice-yearly injections could replace daily tablets in a major boost for millions of patients.
Early trial results suggest a single shot of zilebesiran is enough to lower blood pressure for six months, with few side effects.
It also reduced someone’s chances of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiac event by 20 per cent or more, The Mirror reports.
One in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure – around 14.4million people.
Many take statins every day to keep the condition under control and minimise health complications.
Untreated high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is responsible for more than half of all heart attacks and strokes, according to the UKHSA.
George L. Bakris, professor of medicine and director of the Comprehensive Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, said: “Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of death and disease, so there is a need for new treatments that provide sustained blood pressure control over longer periods of time.
“This will improve outcomes for people with hypertension.
“Our study demonstrates that either quarterly or biannual doses of zilebesiran can effectively and safely lower blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.”
Scientists studied 377 patients with an average age of 57 and systolic blood pressure of 142 mm Hg.
They were divided into four groups which received different doses: 150, 300 or 600mg every six months or 300mg every three months, or a dummy jab.
Over a six-month period, the analysis found participants who received zilebesiran saw blood pressure reductions during the day and night, without taking additional medications.
Researchers say zilebesiran works by suppressing production of the hormone angiotensin, which narrows blood vessels.
Dr Bakris said: “These results reinforce the potential of zilebesiran to provide sustained blood pressure control, improve adherence to medication via infrequent dosing, and in turn, improve outcomes for people with high blood pressure.”
The results were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, US.