Antihypertensive drugs found to increase mortality risk

Scientists warn against antihypertensive drugs that increase mortality risk
Scientists warn against antihypertensive drugs that increase mortality risk

Scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States have red-flagged two drugs identified as blood pressure drugs.

According to the findings, individuals with hypertension who used any of these classes of antihypertensive drugs; alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists to control their blood pressure showed an increase in blood pressure variability, which could increase mortality risk.

The drugs Doxazosin mesylate and prazosin hydrochloride which belong to the class of drugs called Alpha blockers are used to treat hypertension. These drugs work by dilating the blood vessels. Methyldopa which is an Alpha-2 agonist also used for high blood pressure treatment work by targeting sympathetic nervous system activity, thereby causing reduced blood vessel constriction.

The new finding was presented at the 2018 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Sessions, held in Orlando, FL. by lead author Dr. Brian Clements and team.

They revealed that certain types of medication that are used to lower blood pressure may be contributing to mortality risk.

During the study, the data of over 10,500 adults with high blood pressure were analyzed.

The participants had their blood pressure measured at least seven times between January 2007 and December 2011, and the type of blood pressure medication they were using was monitored.

The study sought to use data to assess whether certain classes of blood pressure medication were associated with variability in blood pressure levels.

The findings indicated that two classes of blood pressure medication: alpha blockers and alpha-2 agonists were linked to higher blood pressure variability in the subjects.

Based on the study results, Dr. Clements and colleagues concluded that these two medications should not be used to treat hypertension.

“Patients should know what their blood pressure is,” he says, “and if it’s up and down all the time, the patient should work with their physician to explore options for the best blood pressure medications that will reduce variances.”

“Where possible, the two types of medications that show an increase in variances should be avoided.”

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Dr. Clements also suggested that other classes of drugs such as ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics may be safer treatment options for people with hypertension.

“People who are on other types of blood pressure medications have an increased risk of death,” he adds.

However, blood pressure variability is not solely down to medication; Dr. Clements notes that the way in which blood pressure is measured can have a significant effect on readings.

For accurate blood pressure readings, he recommends sitting or lying down for 15 minutes before measurements are taken. Avoiding stressful situations and using a well-fitting blood pressure cuff may also help.

According to the new guidelines set last November by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the ACC a person is considered to have hypertension if his systolic blood pressure (the top number) is 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher, and their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 80 mmHg or higher.

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Paschal Nwala is a young physiologist from the University of Port Harcourt. He hails from Rivers State. Paschal is known for his objective take on issues bothering societal life and morality. For him objectivity is the watchword. He is simply known as Paschini.

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