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New Guidelines Tackle Treatment of Resistant Hypertension
Date:4/7/2008

hypertension. Research shows that reducing alcohol consumption can help lower blood pressure.

The committee also listed a number of health conditions that can contribute to resistant hypertension. They include: obstructive sleep apnea, renal parenchymal disease, primary aldosteronism and renal artery stenosis. Treating these conditions may improve blood pressure control.

Medications were the third area covered by the committee. They said the use of drugs that increase blood pressure, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should be reduced or halted, if possible, in patients with resistant hypertension.

The committee noted that diuretics are often underused in people with resistant hypertension. They also said some patients may benefit from adding mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) to their treatment regimens. MRAs treat primary aldosteronism, which is found in about 20 percent of people with resistant hypertension.

"The benefit of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists in treating resistant hypertension has only been recently confirmed," writing committee chair Dr. David A. Calhoun, a professor of medicine in the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said in a prepared statement.

"Hypertension specialists are likely using them to a greater degree, but they are probably not being broadly used to address this problem. Using MRAs requires special biochemical monitoring, particularly to measure blood levels of potassium due to the risk of hyperkalemia [a condition caused by abnormally high potassium levels in the blood]," he said.

Multi-drug regimens, dose timing and patient adherence to medications are also addressed in the guidelines, which were published online in Hypertension.

More information

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