Antihypertensive drugs 'often prescribed to older people with low blood pressure'

6 July 2016

Many patients over 70 remain on antihypertensive medication despite having low blood pressure, according to a new study.

Carried out by the University of Kent and East Kent Hospitals, the research looked at data from 11,167 patients over the age of 70, with 1,899 people demonstrating some degree of low blood pressure. Of these, 1,246 were on antihypertensive medication.

This is a potential problem, as antihypertensive medication is designed to reduce blood pressure, meaning those in this position are being put at risk of dangerous hypotension, which has been independently associated with increased mortality and hospital admissions.

It means that money is being wasted providing medications that are not actually needed by the patient, while the trend is also having a negative effect on the quality of life of older patients.

As such, it was recommended that treatment of this kind should be regularly reviewed to balance the risk and benefits, while further trials may be needed to establish which patients are most likely to derive more benefit than harm from treatment.

Lead author Professor Chris Farmer said: "Once medication is initiated, it is not always regularly reviewed to adjust for physiological changes associated with ageing and the effects of additional drugs."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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