Hypertension treatments do the job

A landmark study published in The Lancet this week shows that newer treatments for lowering high blood pressure are as effective as older therapies, and that they can save lives in elderly patients with this condition. The Swedish Trial in Old Patients with Hypertension-2 (STOP-2) involved over 6,000 patients, and compared the newer treatments for hypertension (ACE inhibitors and calcium antagonists) with older treatments such as beta-blockers and diuretics.

The study found that the newer treatments were just as effective at lowering high blood pressure. The study’s chief investigator, Professor Lennart Hansson, explains the significance of the results.

“We know that hypertension is under treated, particularly in the elderly,” he said. “Yet this study shows clearly that treating hypertension saves lives. The newer therapies like ACE inhibitors and calcium antagonists may have fewer side-effects than older therapies, and could therefore be better tolerated in older patients.”

This latest study echoes the results of others, which have shown that lowering of high blood pressure saves lives. It is the first large-scale trial to compare these different classes of blood preure drugs directly. Guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) call for the “aggressive” management of high blood pressure.