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Pediatrics. 2012 Jan;129(1):e1-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-0877. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Antihypertensive prescribing patterns for adolescents with primary hypertension.

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  • 1Division of General Pediatrics, Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, University of Michigan, 300 N Ingalls St, Room 6E07, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5456, USA.



Hypertension is an increasingly common problem in adolescents yet current medical management of primary hypertension in adolescents has not been well-described.


We identified adolescents with primary hypertension by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes and looked at prescription patterns chronologically for antihypertensive drug class prescribed and the specialty of prescribing physician. We also examined patient demographics and presence of obesity-related comorbidities.


During 2003-2008, there were 4296 adolescents with primary hypertension (HTN); 66% were boys; 73% were aged 11 to 14 years; 53% were black, 41% white, and 4% Hispanic; and 48% had obesity-related comorbidity. Twenty-three percent (977) received antihypertensive prescription. White subjects (odds ratio [OR]: 1.61; confidence interval [CI]: 1.39-1.88), older adolescents (≥15 years, OR: 2.11; CI: 1.79-2.48), and those with comorbidity (OR: 1.57; CI: 1.36-1.82) were more likely to receive antihypertensive prescriptions controlling for gender and years of Medicaid eligibility in logistic regression. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors were the most frequently prescribed monotherapy. Nearly two-thirds of adolescents received prescriptions from adult primary care physicians (PCPs) only. More than one-quarter of adolescents who received a prescription received combination therapy, which was most often prescribed by adult PCPs.


Adult PCPs were the leading prescribers of antihypertensives for adolescents with primary HTN. Race differences exist in physicians' prescribing of antihypertensives to adolescents with primary HTN. The choice of antihypertensives by physicians of different specialties warrants additional study to understand the underlying rationale for treatment decisions and to determine treatment effectiveness.

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