Sapienza S, Sacco P, Floyd K, DiCesare J, Doan Q. Results of a pilot pharmacotherapy quality improvement program using fixed-dose, combination amlodipine/benazepril antihypertensive therapy in a long-term care setting. Clin Ther. 2003 Jun;25(6):1872-87.

BACKGROUND: Hypertension is common in older adults (aged greater than or equal to 65 years). Treatment frequently requires multiple medications and can be expensive.

OBJECTIVE: This study measured the impact of substituting low-dose, fixed-combination therapy using the calcium channel blocker (CCB) amlodipine and the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor benazepril for high-dose CCB monotherapy or dual therapy with a CCB and an ACE inhibitor on antihypertensive drug costs, the incidence of adverse events, and blood-pressure control.

METHODS: A multicenter, pilot pharmacotherapy quality improvement program was undertaken in a long-term care facility setting. Consultant pharmacists reviewed pharmacy records and medical charts from long-term care facilities, identifying older patients with a diagnosis of hypertension who either took CCB concomitantly with an ACE inhibitor or experienced adverse events on high-dose CCB therapy. Eligible patients were identified and their physicians contacted regarding switching them to fixed-dose combination therapy.

RESULTS: A total of 51 patients at 17 facilities were switched to fixed-dose amlodipine/benazepril combination therapy; 94.1% were women and 5.9% were men (mean age, 85.1 years; range, 64-99 years). The mean number of comorbidities was 1.6. During the subsequent 2 months, mean blood pressure remained at levels similar to those at baseline. The number of patients reporting at least 1 drug-related adverse event decreased by 81.8% (P less than 0.05), and the incidence of edema decreased by 75.0%. The mean per-patient cost of antihypertensive drugs decreased by 33.1% (P less than 0.001), a mean per-patient savings of 19.21 US dollars per month.

CONCLUSION: In patients aged greater than or equal to 65 years with hypertension in long-term care facilities, a change from high-dose CCB monotherapy or CCB/ACE-inhibitor dual therapy to fixed-dose combination amlodipine/benazepril therapy significantly reduced drug costs and the incidence of adverse events and maintained blood-pressure control.

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