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June 2, 1999

Should β-Blockers Be Used to Treat Hypertension in Elderly Patients?

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(21):1988-1989. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-21-jbk0602

To the Editor: Readers of the recent Contempo article on the treatment of hypertension1 may be misled by the statement that the latest Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VI) recommendations2 no longer recommend β-blockers for older people. In fact, the recommendations of the committee say the opposite: "Thiazide diuretics or β-blockers in combination with thiazide diuretics are recommended because they are effective in reducing mortality and morbidity in older persons. . . "2 The recommendations outline a possible advantage of diuretics over β-blockers but do not remove β-blockers from their recommendations. Especially in light of recent recommendations regarding the expanded use of β-blockers in the treatment of heart failure and the emphasis on use following myocardial infarction, this class of drugs remains a viable option for the treatment of hypertension in older people.

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