Antihypertensives offer 'no benefit' in mild hypertension

Researchers suggest GPs discuss lifestyle changes as an alternative to drug therapy

Antihypertensive drugs do not protect low-risk patients with mild hypertension against cardiovascular disease and death, according to a large UK study.

Evidence to support starting drug therapy to treat hypertension in this cohort is "inconclusive, with previous trials underpowered to demonstrate benefit," the authors say in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers reviewed e-health records from a UK database to assess the benefits and harms of antihypertensive therapy in low-risk patients, defined as having three consecutive untreated BP readings of 140/90-159/99mmHg within 12 months.

The cohort included 19,143 adults prescribed antihypertensive treatment at baseline and 19,143 matched adults who were not prescribed antihypertensives.

In both cohorts, the mean age was around 55 and just over half were women.

During an average follow-up of close to six