Although it is generally acknowledged to be a problem in severe hypertension, headache has not been consistently associated with mild-to-moderate hypertension.
Patients and Methods
In 7 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, which included 2673 patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension (defined as seated diastolic blood pressure of 95-110 mm Hg), patients were randomized to receive once-daily treatment with irbesartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker (n=1987), or placebo (n=686). The data were pooled and analyzed retrospectively to determine whether the level of hypertension was associated with headache and whether antihypertensive therapy reduced the incidence of headache.
Factors found to be predictive of headache incidence were diastolic blood pressure, sex (female), and age (<50 years). In comparison with placebo, the use of irbesartan was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of headache (P=.003).
These data suggest that mild-to-moderate hypertension is not asymptomatic and that the incidence of headache can be reduced by antihypertensive treatment with a favorable adverse effect profile.