Evidence for the efficacy of low-dose diuretic monotherapy

The American Journal of Medicine
J M Flack, W C Cushman


Diuretic monotherapy has been recommended by the fifth report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC-V) as a preferred initial treatment for hypertension. Thiazide diuretics are commonly used to treat hypertension because of their demonstrated efficacy, favorable safety profile, low acquisition cost, and their proven ability to reduce blood pressure-related morbidity and mortality. Once-daily low-dose hydrochlorothiazide (12.5 mg/ day) or chlorthalidone (15 mg/day) effectively reduces blood pressure in patients with stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension in comparison with placebo. Blood pressure reductions with low-dose hydrochlorothiazide and chlorthalidone are comparable to that achieved with higher doses (25 and 50 mg/day). Additional blood pressure reductions can be attained with concomitant use of once-daily low-dose hydrochlorothiazide or chlorthalidone with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, a beta blocker, or a calcium antagonist. Once-daily low-dose hydrochlorothiazide provides clinically meaningful blood pressure lowering while minimizing adverse effects, such as electrolyte disturbances, cholesterol elevations, and increases in serum uric acid levels.


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