HIGH blood pressure could soon be treated with twice-yearly jabs, scientists claim.
British medics are trialling a world-first injection to control the killer condition, which is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks.
Millions of UK adults currently take daily pills to keep their blood pressure in check.
But experts at Queen Mary University of London are now testing an injection that is given just once every six months in 630 volunteers.
If the drug is proven safe and effective, it could revolutionise how blood pressure is controlled in high risk patients.
The medication, known as Zilebesiran and made by U.S.-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, works by targeting a key hormone produced by the liver.
Lead researcher Dr Manish Saxena said: “We are excited to be trialling this first of its kind approach to research if it is safe and effective for the treatment of high blood pressure.
“Solving health challenges on this scale cannot be achieved by one person or entity alone. We are thrilled to be working alongside Alnylam and combining our expertise to hopefully change modern medicine.”
The study, which is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is due to run for three years.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This exciting trial could lead to good news for the millions of people across the UK with high blood pressure, many of whom need to take daily medication to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes.
“The study will determine whether an injection given twice a year lowers blood pressure sufficiently over a prolonged period. If this proves to be the case, it may provide an alternative to taking daily pills for some patients.”
High blood pressure is the biggest single trigger of heart disease and stroke.
It is known as the silent killer, because the symptoms often go unnoticed until it is too late.
Under NHS rules, it is a reading over 140/90mmHg – with around 12 million people eligible for treatment.
Pressure on the artery walls can also damage organs, with complications including vision loss, dementia, heart failure, an aneurysm and kidney disease.
In about one in 20 cases, high blood pressure happens as the result of an underlying health condition or taking a certain medicine, the NHS says.
High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms so it’s important to get checked regularly.
Healthy adults aged over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years, the NHS says.
You can also test your blood pressure at home using a home testing kit.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?