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December 1986

Relaxation Therapy for Hypertension: Comparison of Effects With Concomitant Placebo, Diuretic, and ß-Blocker

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Drs Jacob and Coburn) and the Division of Hypertension/Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine (Drs Shapiro, Reeves, Johnsen, and McDonald), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(12):2335-2340. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360240049009

• We compared the effects of relaxation therapy in hypertensive patients taking placebo, a β-blocker (atenolol, 100 mg/d), or a diuretic (chlorthalidone, 50 mg/d), and we also compared the effects of relaxation therapy with the effects of the latter two drugs alone. Blood pressures were measured not only in the relaxation therapists' office and at a hypertension clinic, but also in the patient's environment by means of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure recordings. The effect of relaxation therapy, while statistically significant, was modest. There was no generalization of effect to ambulatory blood pressure. Atenolol was significantly more effective than relaxation in reducing both systolic and diastolic pressure. Chlorthalidone was significantly more effective than relaxation in reducing systolic but not diastolic pressure in the hypertension clinic only. The long-term effects of relaxation were independent of concomitant drug use, but within the actual relaxation sessions blood pressure dropped further during chlorthalidone than during

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