Association between cardiovascular outcomes and antihypertensive drug treatment in older women

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Bruce Psaty, Philip Greenland, Albert Oberman, Theodore Kotchen, Charles Mouton, Henry Black, Aaron Aragaki, Maurizio Trevisan
JAMA 2004 December 15, 292 (23): 2849-59

CONTEXT: Diuretic-based therapy is at least as effective as newer classes of agents for hypertension. However, many patients with hypertension require treatment with more than 1 drug class to achieve blood pressure control. The relative benefits or risks of 2-drug-class combinations are not well known.

OBJECTIVE: To prospectively evaluate if there are differences in cardiovascular mortality among postmenopausal women with hypertension but no history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) treated with different classes of antihypertensive agents, singly or in combination.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Women with hypertension enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, a longitudinal multicenter cohort study of 93 676 women aged 50 to 79 years at baseline (1994-1998), assessed for a mean of 5.9 years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Relationship between baseline use of ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or diuretics, or a combination of these, and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and CVD mortality.

RESULTS: Among 30,219 women with hypertension but no history of CVD, 19,889 were receiving pharmacological antihypertensive treatment, of whom 11,294 (57%) [corrected] were receiving monotherapy with an ACE inhibitor, beta-blocker, calcium channel blocker, or diuretic, and 4493 (23%) were treated at baseline with a combination of diuretic plus either ACE inhibitor, beta-blocker, or calcium channel blocker or ACE inhibitor plus calcium channel blocker. Monotherapy with calcium channel blockers vs diuretics was associated with greater risk of CVD death (hazard ratio, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-2.35), controlling for multiple covariates. Women treated with a diuretic plus a calcium channel blocker had an 85% greater risk of CVD death vs those treated with a diuretic plus a beta-blocker, after adjustment for age, race, smoking, high cholesterol levels requiring medication, body mass index, physical activity, use of hormone therapy, and diabetes. After exclusion of women with diabetes the hazard ratio was 2.16 (95% confidence interval, 1.16-4.03). Analyses adjusting for propensity to be receiving a particular treatment did not change the results. For morbid events of coronary heart disease or stroke, diuretics plus ACE inhibitors or calcium channel blockers did not differ from diuretics plus beta-blockers.

CONCLUSIONS: Among women with hypertension but no history of CVD, a 2-drug-class regimen of calcium channel blockers plus diuretics was associated with a higher risk of CVD mortality vs beta-blockers plus diuretics. Risks were similar for ACE inhibitors plus diuretics and beta-blockers plus diuretics. Monotherapy with diuretics was equal or superior to other monotherapy in preventing CVD complications of high blood pressure.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"