28 May 2009

Give antihypertensive medications to EVERYONE

Even if they don't have high blood pressure. That's the conclusion arrived at in a huge meta-analysis published by the respectable BMJ:
London, UK - Blood-pressure-lowering drugs should be offered to everyone, regardless of their blood-pressure level, as a safeguard against coronary heart disease and stroke, researchers who conducted a meta-analysis of 147 randomized trials (comprising 958 000 people) conclude in the May 19, 2009 issue of BMJ...

"Whatever your blood pressure, you benefit from lowering it further," Law told heartwire. "Everyone benefits from taking blood-pressure-lowering drugs. There is no one who does not benefit because their blood pressure is so-called normal."
Other academics disagree with the conclusion:
Adding his opinion, Dr Franz Messerli (St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City) said that by including 147 trials in their meta-analysis, the authors had to make numerous assumptions, "some possibly valid, others clearly not."
I thoroughly respect the British Medical Journal, but my opinion re this study is expressed in the insert above left. And please note this fine print at the bottom of the page:
Law and Wald disclosed that they hold patents (granted and pending) on the formulation of a combined pill to simultaneously reduce four cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure. McManus disclosed that he has a financial relationship with Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer, A. Menarini Pharma, and Merck Sharp & Dohme.

1 comment:

  1. This kind of advice borders on the criminal, IMHO. My wife suffers from a condition in which her blood pressure is too low. She has been told by doctors to eat 2 grams per day more salt than is recommended generally to keep her blood volume up. The advice to eat a low salt diet nearly killed her because she would cut back further on salt when she got sick, which just further aggrivated the condition. After she was sick for almost a year, her doc gave up and sent her to a psychiatrist for hypochondria and depression. The physchiatrist's son had recently been diagnosed with the same condition. Within two weeks she was well again.

    Universal medical advice should be universally banned, or at least taken with a grain of salt, so to speak.


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