LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Patients with high blood pressure who are given a combination of a Novartis AG (NVS) medicine for hypertension and a generic drug respond better than those taking only one of treatments, according to data released Thursday, which should reflect well on the Swiss group's single-pill combination for treating the ailment.

Findings published by U.K. medical publication The Lancet also showed that patients who later switched from single treatment in the study to combination therapy improved their response, but not to the same level as those who began their treatment with the combination.

The data comes from a study called ACCELERATE, conducted by Novartis and scientists at the British Hypertension Society and the University of Cambridge.

It compared Novartis's drug aliskiren, also known as Tekturna, and amlodipine.

Patients were assigned to monotherapy with either drug or a combination of both for 16 weeks, after which those on a single treatment switched to combination therapy while those already on combination therapy remained with it.

The authors concluded that "We believe that routine initial reduction in blood pressure with a combination such as aliskiren plus amlodipine can be recommended."

In a linked comment to the Lancet article, Ivana Lazich and George Bakris of University of Chicago Hypertensive Diseases Unit said: "ACCELERATE puts into proper context the importance of starting with combination antihypertensives to lower blood pressure towards guideline goals for the general population... A change in guidelines is clearly necessary after the ACCELERATE report."

The results look positive for Novartis's single-pill combination of aliskiren and amlodipine, called Tekamlo, which was approved last summer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The EU's review of Tekamlo is is ongoing.

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