One fifth of well controlled hypertensives in the UK could have their medication withdrawn without serious side effects, according to new data.

That conclusion comes from an observational study carried out in the North of England which abstracted records from 18 general practices over three years. In this investigation, 196 out of 224 male and female patients who were taken off antihypertensive medication were followed up.

It was found that 43, or 22 per cent, of these patients continued to have normal blood pressure even though they remained off medication for the whole of the investigation. The study also found that, of these 43 patients, there were twice as many men as women with normal blood pressure while off medication.

Apart from sex, no other differences were seen between the group which stayed off medication and those who restarted.

Those who redeveloped high blood pressure tended to do so early on, within three months of stopping medication (Br J Gen Pract, 1999; 49: 977-80).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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