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A recent trial from the University of Minnesota suggests that atorvastatin and the calcium channel blocker (CCB) amlodipine used together offer additive benefits to small artery compliance (a measure of endothelial function). Reduced arterial compliance is characteristic of both hypertension and dyslipidemia, and statins and CCBs are thought to have beneficial effects on endothelial function, which is intrinsically linked to small artery compliance.
The study team investigated the effects of the 2 drug classes on vascular compliance in a nested study that was part of the larger AVALON trial. A total of 667 patients were randomly assigned to receive either placebo, 5 mg amlodipine, 10 mg atorvastatin, or both medicines. After 8 weeks of treatment, there was a marked improvement in small artery elasticity with the combination, compared with either drug used alone. The team speculated that the effect of combination therapy might be influenced by the central role of nitric oxide, the bioactivity of which is increased by both medicines via differing routes.