Boehringer Ingelheim has announced that a new formulation of its blood pressure-lowering drug Micardis is now available in the UK.

The privately-owned German group has launched MicardisPlus, which combines the firm’s angiotensin II receptor blocker Micardis (telmisartan) with hydrochlorothiazide. The fixed dose combination (80mg telmisartan and 25mg HCTZ) received approval from European regulators at the end of March.

That approval was based on safety and efficacy data from 12 clinical trials in patients with mild to moderate hypertension, including two which demonstrated that the new combination provided superior blood pressure lowering compared to 80mg telmisartan/12.5mg HCTZ without increased adverse events. Boehringer also noted that additional data shows “clearly superior clinical benefits” with MicardisPlus when compared to another high-dose combination, Novartis’ Diovan (valsartan) 160mg and 25mg HCTZ.

Some four million adults in the UK have uncontrolled blood pressure, leaving them vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease, the firm claims, and poor blood pressure control causes 62,000 deaths every year. Boehringer quoted a GP in Shepherd’s Bush, Sarah Jarvis, as saying that combination drugs reduce the number of tablets patients have to take, which can help improve compliance. She added that MicardisPlus “gives healthcare professionals a powerful weapon in their armoury against uncontrolled blood pressure”.