When is discontinuation of antihypertensive therapy indicated?

Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
R E Schmieder, J K Rockstroh


Major advances have been established in the handling of hypertensive vascular disease in recent years. However, drug compliance, drug costs, and the side effects of antihypertensive agents have prompted the question of whether intermittent therapy or even possible removal of medication represents an alternative to life-long antihypertensive therapy. Several case reports, and controlled and uncontrolled studies, have focused on this subject, delivering promising but inconsistent results. In this review the attempt is made to clarify the controversial results in order to provide possible selection criteria for patients who can be assumed to benefit from the withdrawal of antihypertensive medication. In addition, the issue of whether a genuine hypertensive can ever become normal is critically reviewed, and an evaluation of the reported success rates is performed. Factors that predicted a successful withdrawal of medication were young age, normal body weight, low salt intake, low pretreatment blood pressure, successful therapy with one drug, and only minimal signs of target organ damage. Additional modification, such as a low-salt or a weight-loss diet, were demonstrated to extend the period of nonpharmacologic treatment. Neverthel...Continue Reading


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