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Research Article

Captopril in essential hypertension; contrasting effects of adding hydrochlorothiazide or propranolol.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 06 March 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:693
  1. G A MacGregor,
  2. N D Markandu,
  3. R A Banks,
  4. J Bayliss,
  5. J E Roulston,
  6. J C Jones


    Twenty-four patients with moderate to severe hypertension were treated for four weeks with captopril, an oral inhibitor of angiotensin-converting enzyme. The fall in blood pressure with captopril alone correlated with pretreatment plasma renin activity. The effect of adding either hydrochlorothiazide or propranolol to the captopril treatment was then studied. The addition of hydrochlorothiazide to captopril produced a dose-dependent fall in blood pressure. At the higher dose of the diuretic this fall in blood pressure correlated with weight loss, suggesting that when the diuretic-induced compensatory rise in angiotensin II is prevented by captopril the fall in blood pressure becomes dependent on loss of sodium and water. In contrast, the addition of propranolol to captopril produced no further fall in blood pressure, suggesting that inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme prevents the blood pressure lowering effect of propranolol. This may have implications for the mechanism whereby beta-blockers alone lower blood pressure. These contrasting effects of hydrochlorothiazide and propranolol in the presence of captopril indicate that in patients whose hypertension is not controlled by captopril alone the addition of increasing doses of diuretic is likely to control the blood pressure. The addition of a beta-blocker, however, is less likely to be effective.