As Takeda Pharmaceuticals Korea is about to release its angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB)-related hypertension drug Edarbi next year, industry officials are watching whether the drug will benefit from the new U.S. guidelines for hypertension.
Dong-A ST, which clinched a marketing deal with Takeda Korea, emphasized the importance of active management of blood pressure in a news conference on Tuesday. Edarbi started to receive insurance benefits as of Dec. 1. Doctors prescribe it to hypertension patients without accompanying diseases whose blood pressure is higher than 140mmHg in contraction phase or 90mmHg in diastole.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) on Nov. 13 toughened the hypertension criteria to “130/80mmHg or higher” from the previous “140/90mmHg or higher.”
The Korean Society of Hypertension took a cautious stance whether to apply the new U.S. guidelines to Korea. However, the KSH’s upcoming new guidelines may put more stress on the early treatment of hypertension, it said.
This raises the possibility of prescribing a single hypertension drug for patients with light symptoms. Then, Edarbi, a single treatment for hypertension, might benefit from the KSH’s new guidelines, observers said.
If Korea adopts the new U.S. guidelines, the number of hypertension patients here will rise by 6.5 million with 10 percent of them subject to hypertension therapy, the KSH said.
“Edarbi showed excellent efficacy in lowering blood pressure and safety for 24 hours, in a comparative clinical trial for the existing ARB treatments such as olmesartan and valsartan,” said Pinton Philippe, medical affairs director of Takeda.
He went on to say, “Edarbi was one of the treatments used for the SPRINT study, which was behind the ACC/AHA’s latest redefinition of hypertension. The drug will be able to help new Korean patients and those with insufficient blood pressure control.
Kang Seok-min, a professor at internal medicine of heart department at Yonsei University’s College of Medicine, said it was essential to get early treatment for even stage-1 hypertension patients because hypertension increases risks of cardiovascular diseases.
“Many studies proved that an active management of hypertension reduced the chance of cardiovascular diseases and mortality rate,” Kang said. “As for patients recently diagnosed with hypertension, we can manage their blood pressure with a prescription for a single treatment, along with lifestyle improvements. So, it is important to choose a drug that has to outperform efficacy in controlling blood pressure.”
Kang forecast that Korea will not adopt the new U.S. guidelines as they are now. According to Kang, academic circles in Europe and Japan have negative views of following the 130/80mmHg criteria regardless of age.
“There are many different opinions within the KSH whether to apply the guidelines suggested by the U.S. association,” Kang said.
Even though he agreed with the U.S. guidelines’ stance that early hypertension management reduces the chance of hypertension-induced complications, the KSH remains cautious about revising the KSH’s guidelines because the criteria for hypertension diagnosis would bring about an enormous social impact on buying an insurance policy and landing a job, Kang added.
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