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Correspondence: Dr Ong Hean Teik, email@example.com
The comparative anti-hypertensive drug trials conducted to assess their cardiovascular protective efficacy actually produce compatible, not conflicting, results. In the last decade, there were 13 major comparative hypertension drug trials with the cardiovascular primary outcome being statistically equivalent in 11 of these 13 trials, involving over 90 percent of the randomised 168,593 patients. Where secondary outcomes favour a drug in these trials, that arm has a significantly lower treated blood pressure as in LIFE, VALUE, ASCOT and ALLHAT. Controversy occurs in seeking to attribute the benefit to drug effect; if the benefit is attributed to the lower achieved blood pressure, then the trials become consistent. The safety and value of diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers in reducing blood pressure, and in reducing clinical cardiovascular outcomes, is now clearly established. Overall, the importance of tight blood pressure control in reducing cardiovascular outcomes must be emphasised. Physicians should concentrate on achieving good blood pressure control, which often requires a combination of several antihypertensive drugs.
Keywords: anti-hypertensive drugs, blood pressure control, cardiovascular outcomes, hypertension, drug trials
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(8): 599-605