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Hypertension. 2000 Oct;36(4):600-3.

Trends in antihypertensive drug therapy of ambulatory patients by US office-based physicians.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


This study assessed trends from 1980 to 1995 in ambulatory patients' antihypertensive drug therapy by US office-based physicians for visits in which hypertension was the principal diagnosis and compared these trends with the respective guidelines given in 5 Joint National Committee (JNC) Reports on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure published around the same time period. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics' National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys for 1980, 1985, 1990, and 1995 were used. From 1980 to 1995, there was no significant trend in the percentage of hypertension visits that did not mention any antihypertensive drug (20% to 27%). Further analyses focused on those hypertension visits in which at least 1 antihypertensive drug was used. Across the years, antihypertensive drug visits mentioning calcium channel blockers or ACE inhibitors significantly increased; those noting diuretics significantly decreased. However, in 1995, antihypertensive drug visits that included a diuretic and/or a beta-adrenergic blocker equalled 53%; these are the antihypertensive drug classes preferred by the JNC V. Physician antihypertensive drug prescribing was generally consistent with the basic antihypertensive drug guidelines of the JNC reports.

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