Drugs for high blood pressure may be overprescribed, if the results of a review of the latest way of measuring hypertension are anything to go by.

Researchers found that patients whose blood pressure was measured by ambulatory monitoring where levels are recorded throughout the normal working day with a device strapped to the patient needed fewer drugs than people whose blood pressure is monitored in the normal way.

Ambulatory monitoring avoids the “white coat effect”, when blood pressure is raised unnaturally when a patient gets to the hospital. It is also more accurate than the standard testing, and is not open to interpretation from the operator (JAMA, 1997; 278: 1065-72).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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