Intended for healthcare professionals


Many more people could benefit from blood pressure lowering drugs, say researchers

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 30 April 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1120
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Tenterden, Kent

Antihypertensive drug treatment can lower the risk of strokes, heart failure, and heart attacks even in adults with normal blood pressure, a large scale analysis of randomised trials concludes.1

The authors are calling for a change to clinical guidelines so that patients are considered for blood pressure lowering treatment on the basis of their overall cardiovascular risk, irrespective of their blood pressure or whether they have a previous history of cardiovascular disease.

The meta-analysis of pooled individual participant-level data, published in the Lancet, found that each 5 mm Hg reduction in systolic pressure lowered the relative risk of cardiovascular events by about 10%, irrespective of previous diagnoses of cardiovascular disease, and even at normal or high-normal blood pressure values.

The threshold blood pressure levels for starting treatment and the target levels to be achieved by treatment remain controversial. The current …

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