Medline ® Abstract for Reference 1
of 'Can drug therapy be discontinued in well-controlled hypertension?'
Antihypertensive therapy. To stop or not to stop?
Schmieder RE, Rockstroh JK, Messerli FH
The benefits of continuous antihypertensive therapy have been extensively documented. However, lack of compliance with the prescribed regimen, excessive cost, and troublesome adverse effects of some antihypertensive agents led to the consideration of intermittent therapy or even complete discontinuation of therapy as an effective alternative to lifelong medication. Prospective studies dealing with this subject reported inconsistent results. Nevertheless, they allowed us to identify selection criteria of candidates for step-down or discontinuation of antihypertensive therapy. Such candidates include patients with mild essential hypertension who have one or more of the following characteristics: young age, normal body weight, low salt intake, no alcohol consumption, low pretreatment blood pressure, successful therapy with one drug only, and no or only minimal signs of target organ damage. Stopping antihypertensive therapy without subsequent rise in arterial pressure was shown to be possible in a subset of patients with mild essential hypertension for a period of months to years. This approach appears to be safe, provided that blood pressure is monitored frequently, and may improve compliance, save treatment costs, and reduce adverse effects of certain drugs, although its long-term consequences for morbidity and mortality remain to be determined.
Department of Medicine, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Federal Republic of Germany.