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Therapeutic drug monitoring of amlodipine and the Z-FHL/HHL ratio: Adherence tools in patients referred for apparent treatment-resistant hypertension

ESW Jones
M Lesosky
M Blockman
S Castel
EH Decloedt
SLU Schwager
ED Sturrock
L Wiesner
BL Rayner


Background. Non-adherence to antihypertensives is a cause of ‘pseudo-treatment-resistant’ hypertension. Objective. To determine whether monitoring plasma amlodipine concentrations and inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) can be adjunct adherence tools. Methods. Patients with hypertension who were prescribed enalapril and amlodipine were enrolled. Blood pressures (BPs) were monitored and an adherence questionnaire was completed. Steady-state amlodipine was assayed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and degree of ACE inhibition using the Z-FHL/HHL (z-phenylalanine-histidine-leucine/hippuryl-histidine-leucine) ratio. Results. One hundred patients (mean (standard deviation) age 50.5 (12) years, 46% male) were enrolled. Based on plasma assays, 26/97 patients (26.8%) were unsuppressed by enalapril and 20/100 (20%) were sub-therapeutic for amlodipine. There were significant BP differences based on plasma levels of the medication: 21/20 mmHg lower in the group with suppressed ACE and 26/20 mmHg in the group with steady-state amlodipine concentrations. Conclusions. Monitoring antihypertensive adherence by assaying plasma medication concentrations is a feasible option for evaluating true v. pseudo-resistant hypertension.

S Afr Med J 2017;107(10):887-891

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eISSN: 2078-5135
print ISSN: 0256-9574