BEGINNING patients with & # 39; two-in-one & # 39; high blood pressure pills will help save thousands of lives, doctors claim.
About 10 million Britons take multiple medications for the cutthroat condition, the biggest trigger for heart disease and strokes.
But experts warn that only half manage their illness effectively.
High-risk patients are initially prescribed a single pill before they receive a second medication to lower their blood pressure.
But leading researchers often do not warn GPs to hand out the extra medicine.
And patients taking multiple medications are four times as likely to miss a dose compared to those who use only one tablet – put off by the extra cost and effort.
New guidelines from the European Society of Cardiology say that starting millions of Britons with high blood pressure on a single treatment with two drugs would break heart and die.
Professor Bryan Williams, from University College London, who helped write the guidelines, said that the combination pills cost only 5p per day.
But despite the benefits, few patients in the UK get them.
Speaking at the ESC Congress in Munich [must keep], he said: "The vast majority of patients with high blood pressure should start treatment with two drugs as a single pill.
"These pills are already available.
Broader use resulted in better compliance with the treatment and thus better control of blood pressure, which can lead to the prevention of thousands of new strokes and heart attacks per year. "
The NHS watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, is currently examining whether patients should receive combination pills as part of a 2019 assessment.
Professor Williams added: "We have used the same approach over the past 40 years to lower blood pressure and the improvements are too slow and too many people die as a result.
"We have to do something more drastic, the use of combinations of multiple combinations would certainly save lives."
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, because the symptoms often go unnoticed until it is too late.
According to the NHS rules, it is a reading of more than 140/90 mmHg – which means that one in three adults is eligible for treatment.
Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "About 40 percent of people with high blood pressure are undiagnosed and many of those diagnosed do not manage their condition well, even though we already have several effective drugs .
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"The majority of people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, so part of the problem is that none of us likes to take pills if we do not feel the benefit – and treatment becomes even more challenging when more than one pill is needed to check your blood pressure.
"The new guidelines suggest starting most patients with high blood pressure on a combination of two drugs in one pill.
If this recommendation is widely accepted, it can improve effective blood pressure control and thus reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. "