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article imageConcern over hypertension drugs

By Tim Sandle     Sep 19, 2014 in Health
A relaxation of controls for hypertension management drug may have placed millions of patients at risk, according to a new study into prescribing in the U.S.
The reason for the concern is that patients may have been prescribed treatments that are of no benefit them and may actually be harmful. This is the conclusion by U.S. medical experts who have written a report to the British Medical Journal.
The medics argue that drug threshold-lowering practices have not helped patients, could cause harm, and have turned out to be a major financial drain on healthcare resources. In relation to the financial costs, it is estimated that annual mild hypertension treatment costs there each year total some $32bn - equating to over one per cent of the nation's entire healthcare expenditure. For these various reasons, the medics instead argue that clinicians need to exercise care when prescribing hypertension treatments to low-risk patients.
Although hypertension is common (affecting around a third of the population), the majority suffer from mild symptoms and they are considered to be low risk. However, there is a tendency, especially in the U.S., for patients to be prescribed potent medications.
The study was led by Doctor Stephen Martin. Martin further argues in his paper that with too great an emphasis on prescribing drugs, there are greater: "risks of adverse effects, such as increased risk of falls, and missed opportunities to modify individual lifestyle choices and tackle lifestyle factors at a public health level.”
Furthermore, according to Pharma International, Martin urges “clinicians to share the uncertainty surrounding drug treatment of mild hypertension with patients, measure blood pressure at home, improve accuracy of clinic measurements, promote public health investment, and "encourage lifestyle changes to treat hypertension, including weight loss, smoking cessation, decreased alcohol consumption and increased exercise."
More about Hypertension, Blood pressure, Drugs, Medication
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