Exforge HCT is a medicine that contains three active substances, amlodipine, valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide. It is available as tablets containing amlodipine, valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide in the following amounts: 5/160/12.5 mg, 10/160/12.5 mg, 5/160/25 mg, 10/160/25 mg and 10/320/25 mg.
|Table of Contents|
|What is it used for?|
|How is it used?|
|How does it work?|
|How has it been studied?|
|What benefits has it shown during the studies?|
|What is the risk associated?|
|Why has it been approved?|
Exforge HCT is used to treat essential hypertension (high blood pressure) in adults whose blood pressure is already adequately controlled with a combination of amlodipine, valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide. ?Essential? means that the hypertension has no obvious cause. The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.
Exforge HCT is taken by mouth as one tablet once a day, at the same time of the day and preferably in the morning. The dose of Exforge HCT to be used is the same as the doses of three individual active substances that the patient was taking before. The daily dose of Exforge HCT should not exceed 10 mg of amlodipine, 320 mg of valsartan and 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide.
The three active substances in Exforge HCT are anti-hypertensive medicines that are already in use in the European Union (EU).
Amlodipine is a ?calcium channel blocker?. It blocks special channels on the surface of cells called calcium channels, through which calcium ions normally enter the cells. When calcium ions enter the cells in the muscles of blood vessel walls, this causes contraction. By reducing the flow of calcium into the cells, amlodipine prevents the cells from contracting and helps the blood vessel walls to relax and widen, thereby reducing blood pressure.
Valsartan is an ?angiotensin II receptor antagonist?, which means that it blocks the action of a body hormone called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a powerful vasoconstrictor (a substance that narrows blood vessels). By blocking the receptors to which angiotensin II normally attaches, valsartan stops the hormone having an effect, allowing the blood vessels to widen and blood pressure to reduce. Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic. It works by increasing urine output, reducing the volume of fluid in the blood and lowering the blood pressure.
The combination of the three active substances has an additive effect, reducing the blood pressure more than the individual medicines alone. By lowering the blood pressure, the risks associated with high blood pressure, such as having a stroke, are reduced.
Because the combination of the three active substances has been in use for a number of years, the company presented studies showing that the tablet containing all three substances is absorbed in the body in the same way as the separate tablets.
In addition, one main study was carried out in 2,271 patients with moderate to severe hypertension with the highest strength of Exforge HCT (320 mg valsartan, 10 mg amlodipine and 25 mg hydrochlorothiazide). Patients received either Exforge HCT or one of the three combinations containing only two of the active substances for eight weeks. The main measure of effectiveness was the average change in the blood pressure.
Treatment with the highest strength of Exforge HCT was more effective at treating hypertension than dual combinations containing any of the two active substances. The average reduction in blood pressure was around 39.7/24.7 mmHg in patients taking Exforge HCT compared with 32/19.7 mmHg, 33.5/21.5 mmHg and 31.5/19.5 mmHg in patients taking valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide, valsartan/amlodipine and hydrochlorothiazide/amlodipine combinations, respectively.
The most common side effects with Exforge HCT (seen in between 1 and 10 patients in 100) are hypokalaemia (low blood potassium levels), dizziness, headache, hypotension (low blood pressure), dyspepsia (heartburn), pollakiuria (abnormally frequent urination), fatigue (tiredness) and oedema (fluid retention). For the full list of all side effects reported with Exforge HCT, see the Package Leaflet.
Exforge HCT should not be used in people who may be hypersensitive (allergic) to the active substances, to other sulfonamides, to dihydropyridine derivatives or to any of the other ingredients in Exforge HCT. It must not be used in women who are more than three months pregnant. It must also not be used in patients who have liver or bile problems (such as jaundice), severe kidney problems, anuria (a condition in which a patient cannot make or pass urine) or in patients undergoing dialysis (a blood clearance technique). Finally, Exforge HCT must not be used in patients with hypokalaemia (low blood potassium levels), hyponatraemia (low blood sodium levels) and hypercalcaemia (high blood calcium levels) that do not respond to treatment and in patients with hyperuricaemia (high blood levels of uric acid) that causes symptoms.
The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) noted that patients already taking the three active substances would be more likely to comply with their treatment if prescribed Exforge HCT which combines the three substances in a single tablet. The main study showed the benefit of the highest strength of Exforge HCT in lowering the blood pressure. For all doses, Exforge HCT also met requirements to prove that it was comparable to the combinations of the individual active substances taken seperately. The CHMP therefore decided that Exforge HCT?s benefits are greater than its risks for the treatment of essential hypertension in adults whose blood pressure is already adequately controlled with a combination of amlodipine, valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide. The Committee recommended that Exforge HCT be given marketing authorisation.