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Black patients with hypertension not prescribed diuretics enough
Date:1/22/2013

NEW YORK (January 22, 2013) -- A research study of more than 600 black patients with uncontrolled hypertension found that less than half were prescribed a diuretic drug with proven benefit that costs just pennies a day, report researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York's (VNSNY) Center for Home Care Policy and Research. The researchers say these new findings should be taken as a serious wake-up call for physicians who treat black patients with hypertension.

Their study, reported in the American Journal of Hypertension, found that the patients in the study who used the common diuretic drugs had, on average, lower blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) than the patients who did not receive them.

"We were surprised to find that this beneficial and low-cost drug was not being prescribed for more patients who would benefit from it," says the study's lead investigator, Dr. Linda Gerber, a professor of public health and director of the Biostatistics and Research Methodology Core at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Many previous studies have shown that diuretics are particularly helpful in black patients with hypertension and should be used as first or second-line treatment -- findings that have been written into treatment guidelines. Also, several recent clinical trials have reported that newer classes of agents are not superior to the older diuretic agents, especially in blacks. Newer drugs for hypertension include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs), angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium-channel blockers (CCBs).

"Yet, we find that physicians are not using the drugs as they should in a population that is especially hard hit by high blood pressure, and who suffer greater prevalence, severity, organ damage and mortality from the disease compared to other groups," says Dr. Gerber, who is also a professor of epidemiology in medicine at Weill Cornell.

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Contact: Lauren Woods
Law2014@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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