Vaccine Lowers Blood Pressure
Shots Hold Promise for Freeing People From Lifetime of Daily Pills
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 6, 2007 (Orlando, Fla.) -- An experimental vaccine may someday free
people with high blood
pressure from having to swallow their medication every day.
In a new study, systolic blood
pressure (the top number) fell 6 points in volunteers injected with the
vaccine. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) dropped 3 points.
The vaccine also unexpectedly blunted the surge in blood pressure that
typically occurs between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m, says Juerg Nussberger, MD, a
professor of medicine at University Hospital of the Canton of Vaud in Lausanne,
That's important because most heart attacks and strokes occur in the
morning, he tells WebMD.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart
(If this vaccine
became available, would you try it? Why or why not? Talk with others on the
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Blood Pressure Vaccine Could Improve Compliance
AHA President Daniel Jones, MD, of the University of Mississippi Medical
Center in Jackson, tells WebMD that the vaccine shows promise for improving
control of blood pressure.
Nearly one in three American adults has high blood pressure, which increases
the risk of stroke, heart
failure, and kidney failure.
But in the U.S., only 37% of people with high blood pressure have it under
control, mainly due to a failure to take their medication as directed, he
"That's what makes this such an intriguing approach. The hope is that
you could give a few doses ... and then you wouldn't have some of the
compliance issues related to taking medications on a daily basis," Jones
Nussberger says that if the vaccine pans out in future trials, people would
only have to come in for a shot every four months.
Blood Pressure Vaccine Works on Same Target as Drugs
The vaccine causes the body to
produce antibodies that target angiotensin II, a chemical in the body
that constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Blood pressure
medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and
angiotensin receptor blockers also target angiotensin II.
The study involved 72 patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure who
were injected with either a lower dose of the vaccine, a higher dose, or a
placebo, with boosters four and 12 weeks later.
Only the higher dose significantly lowered blood pressure, compared with
There were no serious side effects with either dose, but all the
participants suffered mild reactions such as pain or swelling in the area where
the vaccine was injected.
The next step: Another small trial to determine whether a different
injection regimen will safely reduce blood pressure further.
Cytos Biotechnology, which makes the vaccine, funded the trial.