Simplified therapeutic intervention to control hypertension and hypercholesterolemia: a cluster randomized controlled trial (STITCH2)

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Background:Notwithstanding improving rates of hypertension control in North America, management of patients with both hypertension and dyslipidemia remains problematic. Based on evidence of improved control utilizing a simplified algorithm for management of hypertension (STITCH), we questioned whether a simplified comprehensive treatment algorithm featuring initial use of single-pill combinations (SPCs) would improve management of participants with both hypertension and dyslipidemia.Method:We randomized 35 primary care practices in Ontario to either Guidelines-care (following current Canadian guidelines) or STITCH2-care (following a treatment algorithm featuring SPCs). Practices each enrolled up to 50 participants with at least one risk factor above target at entry based on Canadian guidelines for BP and LDL-cholesterol control. The primary endpoint was achieving targets for both hypertension and dyslipidemia control after 6 months, assessed at the practice level.Results:The primary endpoint was achieved in 31.3% of participants in STITCH2-care practices, compared with 28.1% in Guidelines-care practices, yielding a difference of 3.2% (P = 0.63). Notably, STITCH2-care practices had a significantly greater reduction in SBP while LDL-cholesterol reduction was only marginally greater in STITCH2 practices.Conclusion:The STITCH2 algorithm resulted in significantly greater use of any SPC compared with Guidelines-care and greater use of the SPC of calcium channel blocker/statin. Unwillingness of the prescribing physician to advance treatment beyond a monotherapy threshold was found to be an important determinant for failing to achieve blood pressure control. In contrast, the more important determinant for failing to achieve LDL control appeared to be the unwillingness of the prescribing physician to initiate therapy with a statin.

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