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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 14

of 'Can drug therapy be discontinued in well-controlled hypertension?'

A systematic review of predictors of maintenance of normotension after withdrawal of antihypertensive drugs.
Nelson M, Reid C, Krum H, McNeil J
Am J Hypertens. 2001;14(2):98.
BACKGROUND: The identification and treatment of hypertension in the general community has contributed to the reduction in strokes and coronary heart disease observed during the past 30 years. However, concerns have arisen that some patients may be receiving unnecessary antihypertensive drug therapy leading to wasted resources and the potential for adverse drug effects. Once therapy has been started, treating physicians have difficulty in selecting patients for withdrawal and have concerns regarding patient safety and their own legal liability.
PROCEDURES: This study reviews and consolidates information from published studies to identify known predictors of the successful maintenance of normotension after antihypertensive drug withdrawal. The predictors were identified by determining the proportion of subjects with various baseline characteristics who remained normotensive while off medication for at least 12 months. From these data we have developed a clinical algorithm to help identify patients in whom antihypertensive drug withdrawal might be considered. This may assist primary care physicians in achieving successful withdrawal of antihypertensive therapy among selected hypertensive patients.
RESULTS: The most consistent predictors identified were blood pressure (BP) (lower pretreatment, on treatment, and after withdrawal), nature of pharmacotherapy (fewer agents and lower dose), and preparedness to accept dietary intervention (weight and sodium reduction).
CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of this information, a trial of withdrawal of antihypertensive medication might be recommended for patients who have mildly elevated, uncomplicated BP that is well controlled on a single agent, and who are motivated and likely to accept lifestyle changes.
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Australia. mark.nelson@med.monash.edu.au