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One in three high blood pressure patients failing to take medication study suggests

One in three people who suffer from high blood pressure are failing to take medication as prescribed by their healthcare professionals, a new study led by our University has suggested.

A study on 1,400 hypertensive patients, conducted in collaboration between the Universities of Leicester (lead authors Dr Pankaj Gupta, Dr Prashanth Patel from the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester), Manchester (Prof M Tomazweski) and Czech Republic (Prof J Widimsky) has used a novel urine test to find that non-adherence to prescribed medications is around 30-40%.

Non-adherence to medications has been known since the time of Hippocrates and has been found to be one of the important reasons for the lack of blood pressure control in at least 50% of the patients in the study - despite the availability of good medicines.

The research team has worked to develop a robust and reliable biochemical screening method to assess for non-adherence to antihypertensive medications in urine or blood using a technique called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. 

The team has set up a National Centre for Adherence Testing at Leicester’s Hospitals and receive samples from around 25 hypertension clinics across UK.

Dr Gupta said: “Given the high prevalence of non-adherence, we should assess patients, particularly those on multiple antihypertensive medications or those who do not have an expected response to treatment”

Dr Patel said: “This is a simple, relatively inexpensive and a robust test. It and has anecdotally changed the management of hypertension in many centres who use the test.”

The researchers hope to ascertain whether non-adherent patients, on follow up, improved their medication taking behaviour and if adherence testing led to an improvement in blood pressure.

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