Debate: does it matter how you lower blood pressure?
Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine, March 2001
Gordon T McInnes
The evidence base for drug treatment of hypertension is strong. Early trials using thiazide diuretics suggested a shortfall in prevention of coronary heart disease. The superiority of newer drugs has been widely advocated but trial evidence does not support an advantage of beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers or alpha-blockers for this outcome. Even meta-analyses have failed to clarify matters. If this issue is to be settled, bigger and better trials of longer duration in high-risk patients are needed. Meanwhile, the importance of rigorous blood pressure control using multiple drugs has been established. This should be the focus of our attention rather than agonising over differences in cause-specific outcomes that may not be generalisable to all patient populations.
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