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ABSTRACTObjectivesEvidence from randomised trials on long-term blood pressure (BP) reduction from pharmacologic treatment is limited. To investigate the effects of antihypertensive drugs on long-term BP change and examine its variation over time and among people with different clinical characteristicsDesignIndividual participant-level data meta-analysisSetting and data sourceThe Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration involving 51 large-scale long-term randomised clinical trialsParticipants352,744 people (42% women) with mean age of 65 years and mean baseline systolic/diastolic BP of 152/87 mmHg, of whom 18% were current smokers, 50% had cardiovascular disease, 29% had diabetes, and 72% were taking antihypertensive treatment at baselineInterventionPharmacological BP-lowering treatmentOutcomeDifference in longitudinal changes in systolic and diastolic BP between randomised treatment arms over an average follow-up of four yearsResultDrugs were effective in lowering BP, with the maximum effect becoming apparent after 12-month follow-up and with gradual attenuation towards later years. Based on measures taken ≥12 months post-randomisation, more intense BP-lowering treatment reduced systolic/diastolic BP (95% confidence interval) by −11.2 (−11.4 to −11.0)/−5.6 (−5.8 to −5.5) mmHg than less intense treatment; active treatment by −5.1 (−5.3 to −5.0)/−2.3 (−2.4 to −2.2) mmHg lower than placebo, and active arm by −1.4 (−1.5 to −1.3)/−0.6 (−0.7 to −0.6) mmHg lower than the control arm for drug class comparison trials. BP reductions were consistently observed across a wide range of baseline BP values and ages, and by sex, history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and prior antihypertensive treatment use.ConclusionPharmacological agents were effective in lowering long-term BP among individuals with a wide range of characteristics, but the net between-group reductions were modest, which is partly attributable to the intended trial goals.

Original publication




Journal article


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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