A score system integrating the evolution of efficacy and tolerability over time was applied to a subpopulation of the STRATHE trial, a trial performed according to a parallel group design, with a double-blind, random allocation to either a fixed-dose combination strategy (perindopril/indapamide 2 mg/0.625 mg, with the possibility to increase the dose to 3 mg/0.935 mg, and 4 mg/1.250 mg if needed, n = 118), a sequential monotherapy approach (atenolol 50 mg, followed by losartan 50 mg and amlodipine 5 mg if needed, n = 108), or a stepped-care strategy (valsartan 40 mg, followed by valsartan 80 mg and valsartan 80 mg+ hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg if needed, n = 103). The aim was to lower blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg within a 9-month period. The treatment could be adjusted after 3 and 6 months. Only patients in whom the study protocol was strictly applied were included in this analysis. At completion of the trial the total score averaged 13.1 ± 70.5 (mean ± SD) using the fixed-dose combination strategy, compared with −7.2 ± 81.0 using the sequential monotherapy approach and −17.5 ± 76.4 using the stepped-care strategy. In conclusion, the use of a score system allows the comparison of antihypertensive therapeutic strategies, taking into account at the same time efficacy and tolerability. In the STRATHE trial the best results were observed with the fixed-dose combination containing low doses of an angiotensin enzyme converting inhibitor (perindopril) and a diuretic (indapamide)
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