• "Early and aggressive" drug therapy for mild hypertension, now widely prescribed in the United States, may be inappropriate for many of the 30 million patients with this condition. Although all of these patients are at greater risks of premature cardiovascular disease, the risks are manifested neither quickly nor uniformly. Drug therapy has not proved beneficial for patients with a diastolic (D) BP reading below 100 mm Hg, particularly those patients who are otherwise at low risk. Those antihypertensive drugs that are available now carry risks along with their benefits. Therefore, persons with mild hypertension who are at low risk should be encouraged to use nondrug therapies for at least six to 12 months. If their DBP remains below 100 mm Hg, they may be better off than if they were given drugs. The drug used in initial therapy has usually been a diuretic. For many patients, however, an adrenergic inhibitor may be a more appropriate choice.
(Arch Intern Med 1983;143:255-259)