Could we one day replace taking daily tablets to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) by a vaccine? It would seem that this indeed might be possible!
According to a study that was conducted with 72 patients suffering from mild to moderate hypertension, the tested vaccine was safe, very well tolerated and effective in lowering blood pressure. The data collected suggest, among other things, a strong efficacy in the early morning hours, a critical period when most adverse cardiovascular events frequently occur.
Blood pressure is not constant throughout the course of the day. It naturally varies, reaching its lowest level around midnight, strongly increasing thereafter around dawn. In the 14-week period following the injection of the hypertension vaccine, the blood pressure at 8 am was lower in patients who had received the vaccine, compared to that of patients who had received the placebo. The medications currently used often do not offer optimal efficacy at dawn, despite the fact that heart attacks are three times more likely to occur at that time. Morning hypertension is also the most important independent risk factor in the occurrence of cerebrovascular accidents (strokes).
Hypertension is the single most important cause of premature deaths across the world. Furthermore, many patients often forget to take their daily medications. Additionally, numerous studies have also shown that more than half of all patients stop taking their medications less than a year after the beginning of a treatment, or only partially take their hypertension medications. Therefore, the vaccine, which would be injected every four to six months, could allow improved monitoring, and counter medication oversights. These advantages could help achieve a better control of hypertension, one of the major factors of mortality in the world.
A vaccine to treat hypertension? Now that is a story worth following!