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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Elderly people 'over-treated' for high blood pressure: Study

The treatment for high blood pressure in elderly patients have been too aggressive that may do them more harm than good, says a new research.

After examining available data of blood pressure patients aged 80 and more in the UK, scientists at Cochrane Collaboration found that the octogenarians are being given too many drugs and in too large doses.

The guidelines in the UK and the US recommend that people over 80 should receive the same blood pressure treatment as people of any other age. This means using combinations of drugs to reach a target blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg.

But Dr James Wright, head of the Cochrane research group, said: "Clinicians should change what they are presently doing and move towards a more conservative approach for the over 80s. I have done so with my patients."

His review of existing studies, including data from two new trials which looked specifically at the effect of blood pressure drugs in this age group, found little evidence that aggressive treatment saves more lives, the BBC reported.

Although fewer patients died of strokes, the total number of deaths from all causes was unchanged.

Based on the findings, Wright suggested a target blood pressure of 150/80 mmHg is more sensible, and said doctors should not be worried if only half of their most elderly patients achieve it.

The only trial that found a significant reduction in overall mortality was the most conservative in terms of number of drugs and dose of drugs allowed.

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