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The JNC 7 approach compared to conventional treatment in diabetic patients with hypertension: a double-blind trial of initial monotherapy vs. combination therapy.

Author(s): Fox JC, Leight K, Sutradhar SC, Demopoulos LA, Gleim GW, Lewin AJ, Bakris GL

Affiliation(s): Merck Research Laboratories, BLX-21, P.O. Box 4, West Point, PA 19486, USA.

Publication date & source: 2004-08, J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich)., 6(8):437-42

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

The JNC 7 states that persons with blood pressure (BP) more than 20/10 mm Hg above goal should be started on combination drug therapy. This criterion includes patients with BP >160/100 mm Hg and diabetics with hypertension. The goal BP for persons with diabetes mellitus is <130/80 mm Hg. A randomized, double-blind trial force titrated initial combination therapy utilizing an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) combination (losartan/hydrochlorothiazide [LOS/HCTZ]) compared with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (ramipril), for 8 weeks, and tested the hypothesis that combination therapy is more likely to achieve goal BP vs. monotherapy. At 4 weeks, 30.5% of LOS/HCTZ and 14.4% of ramipril recipients achieved goal diastolic BP (p<0.001). More participants achieved goal systolic BP in the ARB/HCTZ group at 4 weeks (29.8% vs. 14.4%; p<0.001). At 4 weeks, mean diastolic BP had decreased 10.2+/-7.4 mm Hg in the LOS/HCTZ group compared with 6.4+/-6.8 mm Hg in the ramipril group (p<0.001), and systolic BP had fallen 15.4+/-13.1 mm Hg in the ARB/HCTZ compared with 9.2+/-10.2 mm Hg in the ACE-inhibitor group (p<0.001). Significant differences favoring the combination were also noted at 8 weeks. Drug-related adverse experiences were 10.3% for the combination compared with 12.7% for the monotherapy group. Initial combination therapy with an ARB/HCTZ was more effective than ACE-inhibitor monotherapy in achieving BP goals in participants with diabetes with no significant differences in the incidence of adverse experiences. These observations confirm other studies of combination therapies, such as b blocker/diuretic, ACE inhibitor/diuretic, or ACE inhibitor/calcium channel blocker. The use of two medications will achieve goal BP in more patients than monotherapy. This observation is important in treatment of high-risk patients with diabetes.

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