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Reduction in Long-term Antihypertensive Medication Requirements:  Effects of Weight Reduction by Dietary Intervention in Overweight Persons With Mild Hypertension

Barry R. Davis, MD, PhD; M. Donald Blaufox, MD, PhD; Albert Oberman, MD; Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD; Neal Zimbaldi; Jeffrey A. Cutler, MD; Kent Kirchner, MD; Herbert G. Langford, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1993;153(15):1773-1782. doi:10.1001/archinte.1993.00410150051005.
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Background:  Increasing concern over long-term drug treatment of mild hypertension has stimulated several studies of weight reduction. Phase I of the Trial of Antihypertensive Interventions and Management demonstrated a short-term effect of weight loss on blood pressure control in overweight persons with mild hypertension, who were either taking placebo or taking low-dose monotherapy. Phase II investigates the long-term benefit of weight loss on the ability to maintain blood pressure control.

Methods:  From 10 148 community-based screenees, 587 persons (5.8%), aged 21 to 65 years, entered a multicenter, randomized drug (double-blind, placebocontrolled) and diet trial. Participants had a diastolic blood pressure between 90 and 100 mm Hg and were at 110% to 160% of their ideal weight. They were randomized to a usual diet (n=296) or to a weight loss diet (n=291) and within each diet group to placebo, chlorthalidone, 25 mg/d, or atenolol, 50 mg/d. Treatment failure was defined as using additional antihypertensive medications if diastolic blood pressure rose above 90 mm Hg according to protocol-specified criteria.

Results:  At baseline, mean diastolic blood pressure was 93 mm Hg; systolic blood pressure, 143 mm Hg; weight, 88 kg; percent ideal weight, 137%; age, 48 years; 56% were men; and 33% were black. Mean follow-up was 4.5 years. There was a net loss of 2 to 3 kg with weight loss diet compared with usual diet over most of the follow-up period. The 5-year incidence of treatment failure was 56.7 per 100 participants with usual diet and 49.8 per 100 with weight loss. Long-term weight loss decreased failure of blood pressure control for those receiving placebo or low-dose diuretic or β-blocker by 23%. The results were similar in direction in each drug group.

Conclusions:  The Trial of Antihypertensive Interventions and Management demonstrated that weight reduction is an effective long-term therapy for maintaining blood pressure in the normal range when used as monotherapy or in combination with either thiazide diuretics or β-blockers. Consequently, weight loss should be recommended for the management of obese individuals with mild hypertension.(Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:1773-1782)

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