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Dr Finnerty asked a very cogent question: "Why wait for five years to discontinue therapy?" By implication, Dr Finnerty is asking about mild hypertensive people who are well controlled on one medication alone. We would agree with the figures he gives for those with well-controlled hypertension with mean diastolic blood pressures of 83 mm Hg. However, we interpret Dr Finnerty's data as being the experience of patients who were treated for 12 months, not six months. Also, some of our patients relapsed long after six months without medication, emphasizing the need for continued surveillance of the patient.We agree with Dr Finnerty that there are strong indications that regression of the hypertensive process may occur with prolonged therapy. We think that the period of treatment needed is probably longer than six months, but less than five years. Also, there are indications that dietary change helps blood pressure control.
Langford HG, Blaufox MD, Oberman A, Hawkins CM. Slowing the Return of Hypertension After Stopping Medication-Reply. JAMA. 1985;254(4):503. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360040053009