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July 1986

Antihypertensive Drug Therapy Withdrawal in a General Population

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY (Dr Alderman and Ms Robb); National Center for Health Education, New York (Ms Davis); and the Office of Epidemiology, Nassau County Department of Health, Mineola, NY (Dr Gerber).

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(7):1309-1311. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360190073009

• To determine the fraction of all hypertensives who can be successfully withdrawn from antihypertensive medication, a study was conducted of a patient group originally drawn from a screened population of union members. Of 157 patients, 88 (56.1%) met preestablished blood pressure criteria for drug interruption, and 66 (75%) actually had medication withdrawn. Of these 66 patients, 69.8% and 54.5% followed up for one and two years, respectively, remained normotensive. Patients requiring reintroduction of antihypertensive therapy were distinguished from those remaining drug free by increased systolic blood pressure (141.4±13.2 vs 131.6 ± 8.6 mm Hg) after one month. Extrapolation of the finding that 28% of the study population remained normotensive one year after drug therapy withdrawal suggests the possibility that as many as 5 million Americans currently taking antihypertensive drugs could have therapy interrupted for at least one year and thus avoid both the hazards and costs of drug therapy.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:1309-1311)

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