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April 12, 2006

Recent Trials in Hypertension: Compelling Science or Commercial Speech?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine (Dr Psaty), Epidemiology (Drs Psaty and Weiss), and Health Services (Dr Psaty), University of Washington, Seattle; and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC (Dr Furberg).

JAMA. 2006;295(14):1704-1706. doi:10.1001/jama.295.14.1704

With rare exceptions, hypertension is an asymptomatic risk factor for cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure. In contrast to small, short-term trials that evaluate drug effects on level of blood pressure as a surrogate outcome, large, long-term trials provide information about the full range of health risks and benefits associated with antihypertensive treatment. In this Commentary, we review some of the design choices made in the long-term trials of antihypertensive agents, including placebo-controlled trials and the more recent active-comparison trials.