Importance: More than 1 billion adults have hypertension globally, of whom 70% cannot achieve their hypertension control goal with monotherapy alone. Data are lacking on clinical use patterns of dual combination therapies prescribed to patients who escalate from monotherapy. Objective: To investigate the most common dual combinations prescribed for treatment escalation in different countries and how treatment use varies by age, sex, and history of cardiovascular disease. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used data from 11 electronic health record databases that cover 118 million patients across 8 countries and regions between January 2000 and December 2019. Included participants were adult patients (ages ≥18 years) who newly initiated antihypertensive dual combination therapy after escalating from monotherapy. There were 2 databases included for 3 countries: the Iqvia Longitudinal Patient Database (LPD) Australia and Electronic Practice-based Research Network 2019 linked data set from South Western Sydney Local Health District (ePBRN SWSLHD) from Australia, Ajou University School of Medicine (AUSOM) and Kyung Hee University Hospital (KHMC) databases from South Korea, and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) and National University Hospital (NUH) databases from Singapore. Data were analyzed from June 2020 through August 2021. Exposures: Treatment with dual combinations of the 4 most commonly used antihypertensive drug classes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor [ACEI] or angiotensin receptor blocker [ARB]; calcium channel blocker [CCB]; β-blocker; and thiazide or thiazide-like diuretic). Main Outcomes and Measures: The proportion of patients receiving each dual combination regimen, overall and by country and demographic subgroup. Results: Among 970335 patients with hypertension who newly initiated dual combination therapy included in the final analysis, there were 11494 patients from Australia (including 9291 patients in Australia LPD and 2203 patients in ePBRN SWSLHD), 6980 patients from South Korea (including 6029 patients in Ajou University and 951 patients in KHMC), 2096 patients from Singapore (including 842 patients in KTPH and 1254 patients in NUH), 7008 patients from China, 8544 patients from Taiwan, 103994 patients from France, 76082 patients from Italy, and 754137 patients from the US. The mean (SD) age ranged from 57.6 (14.8) years in China to 67.7 (15.9) years in the Singapore KTPH database, and the proportion of patients by sex ranged from 24358 (36.9%) women in Italy to 408964 (54.3%) women in the US. Among 12 dual combinations of antihypertensive drug classes commonly used, there were significant variations in use across country and patient subgroup. For example starting an ACEI or ARB monotherapy followed by a CCB (ie, ACEI or ARB + CCB) was the most commonly prescribed combination in Australia (698 patients in ePBRN SWSLHD [31.7%] and 3842 patients in Australia LPD [41.4%]) and Singapore (216 patients in KTPH [25.7%] and 439 patients in NUH [35.0%]), while in South Korea, CCB + ACEI or ARB (191 patients in KHMC [20.1%] and 1487 patients in Ajou University [24.7%]), CCB + β-blocker (814 patients in Ajou University [13.5%] and 217 patients in KHMC [22.8%]), and ACEI or ARB + CCB (147 patients in KHMC [15.5%] and 1216 patients in Ajou University [20.2%]) were the 3 most commonly prescribed combinations. The distribution of 12 dual combination therapies were significantly different by age and sex in almost all databases. For example, use of ACEI or ARB + CCB varied from 873 of 3737 patients ages 18 to 64 years (23.4%) to 343 of 2292 patients ages 65 years or older (15.0%) in South Korea's Ajou University database (P for database distribution by age <.001), while use of ACEI or ARB + CCB varied from 2121 of 4718 (44.8%) men to 1721 of 4549 (37.7%) women in Australian LPD (P for drug combination distributions by sex <.001). Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, large variation in the transition between monotherapy and dual combination therapy for hypertension was observed across countries and by demographic group. These findings suggest that future research may be needed to investigate what dual combinations are associated with best outcomes for which patients..
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