Pharmacotherapy of Hypertension: A Review
Systemic hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is present in 69% of patients with a first myocardial infarction, in 77% of patients with a first stroke, in 74% of patients with chronic heart failure, and in 60% of patients with peripheral arterial disease. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials have found that antihypertensive drug therapy reduces cardiovascular events in patients aged younger than 80 years and in patients aged 80 years and older in the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial. Although the optimal blood pressure treatment goal has not been determined, existing epidemiologic and clinical trial data suggest that a reasonable therapeutic blood pressure goal should be <140/90 mm Hg in patients younger than 80 years and a systolic blood pressure of 140-145 mm Hg if tolerated in patients aged 80 years and older. Non-pharmacologic lifestyle measures should be encouraged both to prevent development of hypertension and as adjunctive therapy in patients with hypertension. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics have all reduced cardiovascular events in randomized trials. The choice of specific drugs depends on efficacy, tolerability, presence of specific comorbidities, and cost.
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