The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 139, 31 March 2004
£76m centre for clinical imaging«
Tribute to miracle miler Sir Roger«
Harriet’s prime howler!«
International student awards«
Making a grand entrance«
Lowering blood pressure«
It’s a bug’s life«
Will powers IC Trust«
We’re on the map«
Britain the ‘tobacco control time-warp’«
Cutting carbon emissions«
When too much competition can prove unhelpful…«
Emotional intelligence scrutinised«
Move to new headquarters«
Staff Pay and Grading update«
An international night to remember«
Water way to make a splash at College…«
Science soirée at Silwood«
Snap happy…«
In Brief«
Media Spotlight«
What’s on«

Lowering blood pressure

A NEW set of guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend that most people with hypertension should be on two blood pressure lowering drugs rather than one, writes Tony Stephenson.

Published by the British Hypertension Society in the British Medical Journal, the guidelines aimed at UK doctors, are based on new data from clinical trials and safety tests of anti-hypertensive drugs.

Some 42 per cent of people in the UK aged between 35 and 64 are estimated to have hypertension, or blood pressure higher than 140/90 (mm Hg), which puts them at a greatly increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

BHS President, Professor Neil Poulter, St Mary’s campus, is co-author of the BMJ paper. “Two-thirds of people with hypertension should be on two drugs not one to get them down to their target blood pressure,” he said.

“We know that 60 per cent of people are receiving just one blood pressure lowering drug, meaning that many people are missing out on what we consider to be the best standard of treatment in this country.”

The guidelines, authored by the Guidelines Committee of the BHS, also suggest a simple ‘AB/CD protocol’ to help doctors combine the different classes of blood pressure lowering drugs to provide the best treatment.

Those under 55 should start with an ACE inhibitor (an angiotensin receptor blocker) or a beta blocker. If the target lower blood pressure is not reached, they should use either a calcium channel inhibitor or a diuretic in addition, until the target is reached.

Those over 55 should start with a calcium channel inhibitor or a diuretic first, and if the target lower blood pressure is not reached, use an ACE inhibitor (or an angiotensin receptor blocker) or a beta blocker in addition.

The BHS guidelines were last revised in 1999. Specialists in the field representing more than 12 different stakeholder organisations including the British Heart Foundation, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the UK Department of Health, have contributed to the latest guidelines.

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