Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Beta blockade, diuretics, and salt restriction for the management of mild hypertension: a randomised double blind trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 18 August 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:406
  1. T M Erwteman,
  2. N Nagelkerke,
  3. J Lubsen,
  4. M Koster,
  5. A J Dunning


    Ninety four patients with mild hypertension (average supine diastolic blood pressure (phase V) 95-110 mm Hg) were allocated at random to receive restriction of dietary sodium (maximum allowed 70 mmol(mEq)/24 h) or a normal diet. In addition, they received in random order 25 mg chlorthalidone, 200 mg metoprolol (slow release), and a fixed combination of these two drugs. Each drug treatment was given for four weeks and alternated with four weeks of placebo. Forty four patients were allocated to sodium restriction (group 1) and 50 to normal diet (group 2). The mean 24 hour urinary sodium excretion in group 1 was 74 (SD 31) mmol(mEq)/24 h, and in group 2 132 (51) mmol/24 h. Compared with the screening blood pressure the average decrement of the supine blood pressure in group 1 was 16.0/8.6 mm Hg with placebo, 21.7/11.5 mm Hg with the diuretic, 28.5/17.8 mm Hg with the beta blocker, and 28.9/18.4 mm Hg with the combined agent; in group 2 these values were 13.3/6.1, 20.3/9.7, 21.3/12.9, and 29.4/16.8 mm Hg, respectively. There was a sharp decrease of the average potassium concentration during chlorthalidone and combination treatment periods (average value 3.3 mmol(mEq)/1). These results suggest that moderate salt restriction used as sole treatment has a limited though demonstrable blood pressure lowering effect but that when it is used as an adjuvant to beta blocker treatment its value is greatly enhanced.