Harvard Men's Health Watch

Benefit of blood pressure medication rises with total risk

In people with high blood pressure who are at greatest risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems, taking medication has nearly three times the impact as in those at low risk, says a study in The Lancet. The study confirms the value of considering a man's total cardiovascular risk when weighing treatment options.

Researchers pooled 11 clinical trials involving more than 50,000 people and divided them into four groups based on their 10-year risk of heart attack, stroke, reduced heart function (heart failure), and death. How many of these harmful outcomes could be prevented by taking blood pressure drugs for five years?

In the high-risk group, medication prevented 38 problems for every 1,000 people treated, compared with only 14 in the low-risk group. That's nearly three times the potential benefit.

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