Some older people may safely reduce use of blood pressure meds

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High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans.

High blood pressure is also very common. Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control.

A recent study from the University of Oxford found that a medication reduction strategy is safe among some older adults treated with high blood pressure drugs.

They evaluated whether antihypertensive medication reduction is possible in patients ≥80 years without big changes in systolic blood pressure (BP) control or adverse events during a 12-week follow-up.

Patients were randomly assigned to either antihypertensive medication reduction (removal of one drug [intervention], 282), or usual care (control, 287).

At baseline, patients have been prescribed a median of two high blood pressure medications.

At 12 weeks, 86.4% of patients in the intervention group and 87.7% of patients in the control group had a systolic BP <150 mm Hg.

In two-thirds of patients, medication reduction was sustained at 12 weeks.

In the intervention group, the mean change in systolic blood pressure was 3.4 mm Hg higher than the control group.

At least one serious adverse event was reported in 12 participants in the intervention group and seven in the control group.

These findings suggest high blood pressure medication reduction can be achieved without substantial change in blood pressure control in some older patients with hypertension.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by James P. Sheppard et al.

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