A new study has found that a drug called zilebesiran may be a promising treatment for individuals with mild-to-moderate high blood pressure. The phase 2 clinical trial, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023, demonstrated that a single injection of zilebesiran can effectively reduce systolic blood pressure for up to six months. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than 1 billion people worldwide and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular issues such as stroke and heart failure. Additionally, it is linked to kidney damage, metabolic syndrome, dementia, and vision problems.
The study’s findings are particularly significant because many individuals with hypertension struggle to adhere to their prescribed medications. According to Dr. George L. Bakris, a leading author of the study, over 70% of people with hypertension do not take their medications as directed, resulting in less than 30% of individuals achieving controlled blood pressure. The need for multiple daily medications and the lack of immediate effects often make it challenging for patients to comply with their treatment plans.
Zilebesiran, an investigational drug that targets angiotensinogen (AGT), a hormone involved in blood pressure regulation, offers a potential solution. By blocking the production of angiotensin II, a substance that raises blood pressure, zilebesiran has been shown to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure in study participants. This reduction in blood pressure also resulted in a decreased need for additional medication.
The implications of this breakthrough treatment are significant. If further research confirms these findings, zilebesiran could revolutionize the management of high blood pressure by providing a longer-lasting alternative to daily medication. This could greatly improve adherence rates and ultimately lead to better control of blood pressure levels.
While the study focused on the immediate effects of zilebesiran on blood pressure, future research will explore whether this drug can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with high blood pressure. If zilebesiran proves effective in preventing these cardiovascular events, it could have an even more profound impact on the lives of individuals with hypertension.
Overall, this phase 2 clinical trial has shown promising results for zilebesiran as a potential treatment for high blood pressure. The ability to reduce systolic blood pressure for up to six months with just one injection could address the challenges of medication adherence and provide a new approach to managing hypertension. Further research will determine the long-term safety and efficacy of zilebesiran, as well as its potential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.